MacHale Park loan from Croke Park to be restructured

A proposal to reduce the amount handed over each month to pay off the loan from Croke Park for the development of MacHale Park, Castlebar, was passed by delegates at a Mayo GAA County Board meeting last week, writes Stuart Tynan.

The loan has created financial pressure on Mayo GAA and has resulted in high cash-flow pressure, the meeting was told.

"There's always a challenge between debt management and team preparations. You want your team to have everything they can, but you're always mindful the asset has to be paid," said Mayo GAA County Board chairperson Liam Moffatt.

The total loan stands at €7,941,080.04, with previous monthly repayments of €34,000 (€409,000 annually).

Last year, the payments were reduced to €5,000 per month as a result of Covid. However, this is not cuurently covering the interest on the loan. With interest, the loan total is €7,956,000.

In order to reduce cash flow pressure, Mayo GAA have contacted Croke Park to restructure the loan payments from €34,000 per month to €20,550 per month, with a review in 12 months' time by the National Finance Committee, with Mayo GAA vice-chairperson Con Moynihan stating the €34,000 payment is 'a burden we cannot afford at the moment' and the 12-month option is a 'no-brainer'.

Responding to a question from Ardnaree GAA Club delegate Johnnie O'Malley regarding the cost of the development work on the stadium, Mayo GAA assistant treasurer Michael Diskin said they had received the health and safety report and the priority was to get the lights replaced in the stand and the foor replaced in the tower. Other costs such as trip hazards and rust issues would not come at great expense.

Diskin added that this was the first time Croke Park has given some relief regarding the loan.

Dermot Flaherty, Mayo Gaels GAA Club delegate, commended the board for renegotiating the current loan due to the current financial state of GAA, and said it's a huge vote of confidence that Mayo GAA has their house in order, while Kilmaine GAA Club delegate Kevin McDonnell added that previous Mayo GAA chairperson Mike Connelly also deserved credit for the significant changes made in the loan agreements.

The proposal was seconded and adopted by the county board.