Confidential documents seen by RTÉ's Prime Time show that a senior GAA official appears to have used a GAA credit card for personal use on multiple occasions over a three-year period.

The documents make up an an internal audit carried out by a sub-committee in the county involved.

The details about the level of spending for apparent personal use have caused "serious concern" in the county where it occurred, according to the audit.

The county GAA organisation involved found itself "at a critical juncture in terms of its financial viability," according to the audit seen by Prime Time.

"Many of the transactions appearing on credit card statements appear to be of a personal nature and without explanation," it says.

Analysis of some credit card transactions show that over €6,000 was spent on restaurants in a three-year period. Money was also spent in burger joints and gastropubs. There was also a bill of over €270 for one of several visits to an award-winning restaurant.

The credit card was also used to make cash withdrawals amounting to €2,324 and other miscellaneous spending amounted to €8,754.

The audit states "transactions were processed on the GAA credit card... where no documentary support is available to vouch the expenditure."

The audit also states "a full explanation is required".

The documents continue that a payment of €4,000 was made in 2016 to the official "where the receipts provided may give rise to the further scrutiny in the event of a Revenue audit".

Later in 2016 - two further "unexplained large payments" of €4,000 and €4,775 - "appear to have been made" to the official within a two-week period, the audit says. These payments were claimed as "expenses".

Crucially, the documents say "no basis or explanation appears to exist for the payments".

Two more payments of €2,000 and €3,000 were made to the official in 2017. The documents show that there is no indication of what they were for, or no receipts available to support the payments.

A total sum of €46,997 was paid to the GAA official in "expenses and unexplained payments" across a three-year period.

Elsewhere in the documents these "unexplained sums" of money are referred to as "so-called bonuses."

In a statement issued to Prime Time, the GAA said:  "Where difficulties relating to financial operations in a county have been brought to the attention of Croke Park, an independent review has been carried out. Croke Park and the counties involved work together to implement the findings and recommendations of those reviews."

The Croke Park statement also pointed out that the annual financial statements of all county committees are audited by an external independent auditor.

In addition, the National Finance Department in Croke Park provide staff to assist counties with their financial reports and other financial matters ranging from payroll, financial planning, insurance, IT and purchase order systems.

The Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport have stated that Sport Ireland is implementing a governance code for sporting bodies.

In a statement issued to Prime Time, the Department said: "It is the intention to ensure that compliance with the code will become an obligatory requirement of State funding."  

The government said national governing bodies for sports organisations are "independent, autonomous bodies that are responsible for the organisation of their particular sports, including the financial affairs of its constituent parts or teams."

"This situation applies in relation to the GAA and the various inter-county teams established and organized under its authority."