Thursday 29 January 2009

Cork County Board: Who do you belong to?

I'd be eager to know if anyone can add anything to this bit of research, done by a friend of a friend. slightly off the players strike topic, yet relevant in terms of highlighting the working of Cork GAA.

Ok folks ... been doing a small bit of research in the last week into the activities of the CCB, or lack thereof. Got some info from the Companies Registration Office and it turns out that there is a company known as the Cork Athletic Grounds Company Limited which was incorporated in 1903 and which seems to have been running the affairs of Cork GAA for over 100 years.

Now it would cost me almost €200 to get all the info ever submitted to the CRO by this crowd, so I made do with the "accounts" for 2006. Having said that, it seems that this company submitted its "accounts" only intermittently over the years, and it has been late submitting its accounts for 2007. I showed this stuff to an accountant, who said that while there is nothing illegal on the face of it, the 2006 accounts represent "horrendous corporate governance", the likes of which he had never seen before, and something that the stakeholders in the SME company for which he works would not tolerate. No assets were listed on the balance sheet, other than 900 odd shares worth 2 euros each, 800 of which are owned by the cork county board. Therefore, in 2006 the Cork County Board claimed to be worth 1,800 bones. A likely story.

The remaining shareholders (about 40) were named with addresses in the inner city like the North Mall, North Main St, Princess St and so on. I do not recognise one of these names, and they certainly don't live in those addresses, and my accountant friend thought twas weird; I suspect many of these people are long dead. My accountant friend considered the whole thing a shelf company at this stage. The company's auditors are Gordon Lane & Co. on Academy St., who do not seem to be doing a very thorough job of things. Three directors were listed: Frank Murphy, Pierce Murphy and the late Con Muphy. [Pricks all].

That's not the end of the story. Without dissolving the Cork Athletic Grounds Co., it seems that a new company has been formed in the past 12 months called the Cork County GAA Board SES Company Limited. An SES company is a FÁS creation from the mid 1980s, and stands for Social Employment Scheme. It was heavily criticised back in the day and seems to have been fallen out of favour years ago to be replaced with CE schemes, but not so for our intrepid county board.

In an entirely unrelated aside, no coincidence whatsoever, the ranking officer of that rotten State agency FÁS is the current President elect of the GAA and Frank's PlaceMan in Croke Park for the Latest War on Our Hurlers, Christy Cooney. This Cork County GAA Board SES Company Limited lists 2 directors and a secretary, namely, Frank Murphy, Pierce Murphy and a Declan Walsh from Timoleague, and while it contains 100,000 shares, only 100 have been issued, 50 to Frank and 50 to Pierce (none to Declan).

My accountant tells me that this means Pierce and Frank effectively own the Cork County Board. Now whether that's on trust or not, I think that is fucking shocking. More importantly, because less than 10% of the shares are controlled by any one director, this company is exempt from audit under the Companies Acts. This means that they can spin any old yarn at the county convention on how much the players' spa treatment and facials or whatever cost ordinary Gaels of "dis great association" etc. It also means that, just as we all suspected down the years, that Frank indeed does pay himself and that nobody can scrutinize the accounts.

A few final points.
  • First, all this information is available from the CRO and is such is in the public domain, so no need for the mods to take it down.
  • Second, my accountant tells me that the GAA has centralised its own auditing procedure and does a good job of it; therefore there is little suspicion that fraud is being perpetrated, although personally I think the CCB is controlled by crooks.
  • Third, the only way to take action on this is to inform the revenue, but unfortunately the revenue would not regard this as high priority. Besides, a high ranking member of the CCB is a high ranking member of the revenue, IIRC, so we would get short shrift.
Still though, tis a start and it would be good to let the fuckers know that we're breathing down their necks.......

Update as of 09/03/2009
There has been a few comments on the legitimacy of this post on the LaoisTalk forum of late so I just wanted to point out that I did not state this as first hand knowledge - that's clarified at the top.
In saying that I did post the information I was given and without paying the €200 for the full information I can point people to
here or here. Both sites back up the basics of the piece.
For further information I suggest calling the Cork County Board - and good luck with that ;-)

Wednesday 28 January 2009

Cork Hurling dispute

As the Cork Hurling dispute comes slowly to a conclusion - I sincerely hope - I am going to jot down a few bits about the whole thing.

Ultimately however, it has been a difficult few weeks to be a fan of Cork Hurling. I just hope it is resolved in the right way and we can get on with playing the game - that's what we're better at anyway.

Tuesday 27 January 2009

BBC’s Gaza decision awash with contradiction

So, again we find the BBC dominating the headlines for reasons of controversy. Unless you have been doing a Rip van Winkle impression this past week you will have seen the news that both the BBC and Sky have refused to air a DEC (Disasters Emergency Committee) appeal for aid to help the people of Gaza, following the Israeli withdrawal last week. ITV, Channel 4 and Channel Five all aired the appeal on Monday.

Without getting too embroiled in the politics of the appeal, it is worth considering the implications for the media. The BBC has argued that to show it would impinge on their impartiality. It could be suggested that not showing it does this even more so. Tony Benn, appearing on BBC News 24, voiced his disapproval vociferously and defied the host’s wishes by reading the address of the appeal a number of times.

Tony Benn on News 24:

The BBC position, as voiced by the host, was that there could be no guarantee that the money would get to those it was intended for, i.e. that Hamas would use it for military purposes against Israel. This is a dubious reason at best and one which could be used against any appeal to a war ravaged region. Michael Palin, for example, did an appeal regarding Rwanda for the BBC in 1994 and that was OK.

The Beeb has left itself open to the criticism which has followed this decision. As recently as November 2008 the it aired a DEC appeal for the Democratic Republic of Congo, fronted by Juliet Stephenson, which begs the question: Why did this appeal not impact on the BBC’s impartiality? In the Rwanda appeal Palin asks for the aid to help the "ordinary people of Rwanda" - what about the ordinary people of Gaza, or does the BBC consider them all Hamas militants?

The BBC's Congo Appeal in Novemebr2008:

Further more, does the BBC, as the UK's national broadcaster, not have a responsibility to show this type of appeal, regardless of the politics of the situation? And does this say something fundamental about those in charge of the mainstream media that such politically biased decisions can be made and maintained?

Thursday 22 January 2009

Gaza cartoon

I am a big fan of Steve bell and Martin Rowson who do the cartoons for the Guardian. They are always right on topic and usually very clever.

This one last week I particularly liked.

Wednesday 21 January 2009

Disastrous result for the 'Pool

Disastrous result Monday night. There's no other way to slice it. For the first 8 or ten games this year Liverpool looked like champions - having found that missing ingredient which lets teams win games they have no right to. But of late (by which I mean about the last 3 months!) that ability has completely dissipated.

That's draw number eight this season - no other team has drawn more games than that. Having talked about draws a few weeks ago, the evidence is there that they are like a disease that sneaks up on you. Liverpool are unbeaten in the league since November 1st - 11 games - but 6 of theses games have been drawn, which has taken a five point lead over Utd and turned it into a probable 3 point deficit (with Utd's game in hand being Fulham).

I've been mulling over this change and I personally feel it is that the team doesn't know its own level of mental fortitude, having not been in this position before. You can talk about Torres being out but we won plenty of games away from home without him (Newcastle 5-1; Blackburn 3-1), so why not at home? It has to be mental strength and concentration, when you drop points at home to Fulham, West Ham, etc.

My main worry now is the pressure these draws have put on us going into two games, which IMO will make or break our season. Wigan away is one of the toughest games of this season (they seem to have taken over from Bolton as the place big teams don't like to go) and then Chelski at home. Anything less than six points from those and we could find ourselves behind Chelsea and five or six adrift of Utd.

That's my reality check done, because I'm still positive - believe it or not. We have a great squad and I'm pinning my hopes on this being the blip in our season. If we can get back on track and go to Utd (on March 14th) within 3 points of them - then I think we could be on our way to bringing the title back. Nando fully fit and a shot of confidence for Keane should turn the whole thing around again.

Come on red men!