RDS chief hits out at ex-boss's claim venue was unsafe
FORMER FAS director general Rody Molloy has come under fire for claiming the Opportunities Fair was moved from the RDS to Croke Park to save the lives of children.
He cited a series of complaints about the RDS including the risk of children being "hit by cars or killed" while they were "ducking and diving" across a busy road from the Ballsbridge venue to get food elsewhere.
This has prompted RDS chief executive Michael Duffy to write a strongly worded letter to the Dail's Public Accounts committee, which is examining spending decisions in FAS.
He said that Mr Molloy's comments at last week's committee meeting "simply do not reflect reality".
"With a footfall of almost two million people in 2008 and a record 430 events, it is incredulous that FAS seeks to substantiate the move of Opportunities to Croke Park on the basis of inadequacies in catering and car movements," he said.
Mr Duffy, in a letter seen by the Irish Independent, said the RDS was well served by public transport, pedestrian crossings and wide public footpaths. It had also hosts a number of major events involving schoolchildren, including the BT Young Scientist Exhibition and the Credit Union Schools Quiz, he said.
"The RDS has a strong tradition and in-house expertise in hosting events involving young children, and a track record of safety in this regard. The suggestion that the FAS Opportunities Fair was relocated for traffic reasons is simply not credible."
Mr Duffy also mounted a vigorous defence of the catering facilities at the RDS, which Mr Molloy had described as being "unacceptable" to children attending the fair in terms of standard and price.
He is seeking to have the comments put on the public record.