Liam Moffatt, the new chairman of the Mayo County Board. Photo: David Farrell

Another controversy for Mayo County GAA Board to handle

WITHIN two days of taking over at the helm of Mayo GAA County Board chairman, Liam Moffatt is  faced with his first major controversy due to a vote-counting error during the contest for the board's two Connaught Council delegates, The Connaught Telegraph has learned.

Following the vote for these two positions at Sunday's annual GAA convention in Belmullet, both Vincent Neary, Bonniconlon, and Ardnaree's Johnny O'Malley were declared elected.

The two candidates to lose out were Johnny Hopkins, The Neale, and Ger McHugh, Hollymount/Carramore.

However, The Connaught Telegraph has learned that it has now come to light that a mistake was made during the counting of votes and, as a result, the outcome of the contest was incorrect.

For such contests the PR system is used to get the result. In this case, this is where the mistake was made.

After the first count was concluded Vincent Neary had exceeded the quota. Count two saw his surplus distributed among the three remaining candidates.

Count three then saw the candidate with the lowest number of votes, Ger McHugh, being eliminated and his votes distributed.

But it is here where the count went wrong in that McHugh's number twos were divided among the other three candidates, including Vincent Neary who was already elected.

Neary should not have been involved in the count at this stage and any number two votes that Neary was to get from McHugh should go to the whichever candidates got McHugh's number threes.

If this had been rightly done it would have placed Hopkins ahead of O'Malley and put him as the second Connaught Council delegate.

When contacted by The Connaught Telegate today, both Johnny Hopkins and Johnny O'Malley were aware of the mistake made during the count.

But both said they were keeping a watching brief as to what steps the county board takes to try and solve this serious mistake.

It is understood Mr. Hopkins is expecting that there will be a full recount which would see him elected as one of the two Connaught Council delegates.

On the other hand Mr. O'Malley will be looking at the case whereby he was declared elected at the convention and won't want this overturned.

It looks as if this major problem might take a bit of solving and certainly leaves the new chairman Liam Moffatt with a serious first major headache.

A statement issued by Mayo GAA reads: "Following convention on Sunday a procedural error in relation to the counting of votes in the Connacht Council election was brought to the attention of Mayo GAA by one of the counting team on Sunday night.

"Croke Park and the Connacht Council were contacted immediately to ascertain the next steps required to resolve the matter.

"All four candidates have been contacted in relation to this issue and it is hoped to bring the matter to a satisfactory conclusion in a timely manner."