Tuesday 26 September 2017

FAI gave rival my job to save money, coach tells tribunal

Kevin Keane

An FAI coach has claimed that he was made redundant from his job because his rival was cheaper to employ.

Paul Sheridan (51) was one of two development officers for Co Wicklow who had to give a presentation in order to keep their positions in November 2010. At the time of Mr Sheridan's departure, he was earning €62,000 in salary and benefits per annum.

He is taking an unfair-dismissals case against the FAI on the grounds that he was better qualified for the post than his colleague and that the interview process was unfair.

Mr Sheridan further maintains that he was a regional development officer for Wicklow, Carlow and Wexford when made redundant – and not just for Co Wicklow, as the FAI maintains.

The association's position is that there were two development officers for Wicklow and one had to be let go in a process that saw a total of 13 people lose their jobs across the FAI.

Its lawyers have also told the Employment Appeals Tribunal that wages played no part in the FAI's decision as the successful applicant was employed at a reduced rate of €39,000 per annum.

In his evidence to the tribunal yesterday, Mr Sheridan said he started work as a full-time regional development officer for the FAI in 2002.

At the time, he was one of '12 apostles' under the direction of Brian Kerr, who later went on to manage the national team.

In their first meeting, said Mr Sheridan, Mr Kerr "put a pen to a map of Ireland and said, 'That's your area. Go and develop football.'"

FAI grassroots operation manager Miriam Malone said Mr Sheridan's contention that he was a regional development officer for Wicklow, Wexford and Carlow was "not true".

She said that during 2007 and 2008 responsibility for Wexford and Carlow was passed on to two other employees, leaving Mr Sheridan with responsibility for Wicklow.

SALARY

She told the tribunal that on November 24, 2010, Mr Sheridan and the other development officer for Wicklow, Alan Reynolds, were told that only one of them would be kept on.

Mr Sheridan said he was gutted, shocked and very surprised when he failed to keep his job because he had more experience than Mr Reynolds, had better qualifications and lived in the area, whereas Mr Reynolds lived in Tramore, Co Waterford.

The tribunal adjourned to make a decision, which will be communicated to both parties by letter.

Irish Independent

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