Saturday 21 October 2017

'From a monetary point of view, they will be happy with what they got' - FAI and Ireland women's team 'come to successful conclusion'

Republic of Ireland women’s team captain Emma Byrne, centre, with teammates, from left, Karen Duggan, Aine O’Gorman, Claire Shine, Niamh Fahey, Jetta Berril, Ruesha Littlejohn, Niamh Reid-Burke, Katie McCabe, Julianne Russell, Megan Campbell, Diane Caldwell, Stephanie Roche and Louise Quinn. Photo: Cody Glenn
Republic of Ireland women’s team captain Emma Byrne, centre, with teammates, from left, Karen Duggan, Aine O’Gorman, Claire Shine, Niamh Fahey, Jetta Berril, Ruesha Littlejohn, Niamh Reid-Burke, Katie McCabe, Julianne Russell, Megan Campbell, Diane Caldwell, Stephanie Roche and Louise Quinn. Photo: Cody Glenn
Aine O’Gorman, left, and team captain Emma Byrne during a press conference in Dublin. Photo: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile
Republic of Ireland Women's National Team captain Emma Byrne, right, speaks alongside team-mates during a women's national team press conference at Liberty Hall in Dublin. Photo: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile

Denise Calnan and Gavin White

The FAI and the Republic of Ireland senior women’s national team reached agreement in the early hours of the morning following mediation talks last night.

The FAI released a statement at 3.25am reporting that discussions between both sides "came to a successful conclusion earlier this morning".

They said "issues to be addressed", as outlined by the players, were successfully resolved.

The players confirmed that they will now return to training today in preparation for their international fixture against Slovakia on Monday at Tallaght Stadium.

Aine O’Gorman, left, and team captain Emma Byrne during a press conference in Dublin. Photo: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile
Aine O’Gorman, left, and team captain Emma Byrne during a press conference in Dublin. Photo: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile

The Association added they are "pleased that both sides have reached common agreement and a settlement, which allows the two parties to move forward together as one, in the best interests of Irish football".

Stuart Gilhooly of the PFAI told RTE Radio this morning that the players are "satisfied" with the outcome.

Republic of Ireland Women's National Team captain Emma Byrne, right, speaks alongside team-mates during a women's national team press conference at Liberty Hall in Dublin. Photo: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile
Republic of Ireland Women's National Team captain Emma Byrne, right, speaks alongside team-mates during a women's national team press conference at Liberty Hall in Dublin. Photo: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile

"I think they are satisfied. It was a long night. We started at 6pm last night and finished up after 3am, so it was a long night."

Gilhooly added that there is a confidentiality agreement and while he can't disclose the terms of the agreement, he did say that the issues raised at the Liberty Hall meeting were addressed.

When it was put to him that 'addressed' does not mean 'they got what they wanted', Gilhooly added: "Well, I think they did get what they wanted. I can't get into the exact terms of it. With all negotiations you never receive all of what you want but we got a large degree of satisfaction."

One of the core issues surrounding the row was for players - who have to take time off work to represent their country and suffer a loss of earnings - to receive a match fee of €300. In 2010, their daily expenses of €30 was withdrawn by the FAI.

Gilhooly said: "From a monetary point of view, they will be happy with what they got."

The most striking revelation from Tuesday's meeting was that the ladies team were forced to change out of their tracksuits in public airport toilets because they had to share them with underage teams. While not disclosing any details, Gilhooly added that this will not be happening again.

Representatives for the Irish women's soccer team were locked in intense mediation talks with the FAI in a bid to resolve the row over pay and conditions until the early hours of the morning.

Former trade union leader Peter McLoone acting as appointed mediator.

The talks came after the Republic of Ireland's women's national team held a press conference on Tuesday with representatives from the Professional Footballers' Association of Ireland and Siptu protesting against their treatment by the Football Association of Ireland.

Match fees for international fixtures and tracksuit issues for travelling members of the team were among the concerns raised.

Yesterday, Sports Minister Patrick O'Donovan said there needed to be a change in our national "mindset as to how we view the role of women in sport".

Mr O'Donovan said: "I think it's in everybody's interest that first of all there will be no strike, and secondly, for the players concerned, I'm sure that their only concern is to be in the best possible place they can be to prepare for the game next Monday."

He said he wanted the matter "sorted soon" and "for a process to be put in place".

"I don't believe for one minute they want to be in the space that they're in and I think that everybody needs to come to an accommodation on it," he said.

"It's 2017 and that's not good. That's why everybody's reaction to this when it came out in the media over the last 24-48 hours was the same: it's not good.

John Delaney, CEO of the FAI, commented yesterday, saying; "As you know I've been away the last number of days but as I understand it mediation has been agreed."

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