'If John Delaney spoke to other Oireachtas Committee members, he shouldn't have' - chairperson
Published 10/06/2015 | 12:47
Fine Gael TD John O'Mahony has said he would be concerned if reports of FAI chief executive John Delaney speaking to Oireachtas Committee members turns out to be true.
The Oireachtas Transport and Sport Committee today decided against calling the embattled FAI boss in before it to explain the controversial €5m Fifa payment in 2010 on the back of "strong advice".
The decision came at a tense private meeting of the committee earlier today.
It had been earlier reported that Mr Delaney had called members of the committee during which he requested not to be required to give evidence.
He was reported to have said if he was called in, the matter would have been a distraction ahead of Ireland's key game against Scotland this weekend.
Fine Gael members who had met on Tuesday in private had strongly wanted to bring Mr Delaney in and put a motion down before the committee.
Chairperson of the group O'Mahony told RTE Radio One's News at One that while he spoke to Delaney, the matter of a potential meeting was not discussed.
"I spoke to John Delaney," he admitted. "He asked a question in relation to sending in clarifications in advance of the meeting.
"I advised him to do that. It wasn't discussed in any way whether he should be called into the meeting.
However he did reveal his concerns regarding reports that Delaney spoke to other members of the committee.
"I'm not aware that happened but it is out there. It is being reported. It's something I would feel that shouldn't happen.
"This was never going to be either a witch-hunt of John Delaney or the FAI, or a protection of John Delaney and the FAI."
During the meeting today, the clerk of the committee said he believed bringing Mr Delaney may be outside its remit.
The clerk mentioned the case surrounding Angela Kerins who was engaged in a legal battle with the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) over its attempts to question her over Rehab.
It was pointed out that the committee had previously brought in GAA chief Paraic Duffy over the Garth Brooks saga.
Those in favour of bringing Mr Delaney were TDs Brendan Griffin, Brian Walsh, Helen McEntee, Patrick O'Donovan, Senator Terry Brennan along with Independent TD Tom Fleming.
But Fine Gael Senator Eamonn Coughlan expressed concern about bringing Mr Delaney in.
Chairman of the committee, John O'Mahony, interpreted the vote as being in majority against seeking his appearance.
Labour party members Sean Kenny, Eamon Maloney, Michael McCarthy opposed the motion along with Fianna Fail's Timmy Dooley, Senator Paschal Mooney, Sinn Fein's Dessie Ellis and Michael Colreavy. Independent TD Michael Ftizmaurice also opposed the motion.
Following advice from the committee clerk, all felt that the matters at play were "beyond the remit of the committee" and they voted the motion down.
"This had no relevance for the committee," Timmy Dooley, Fianna Fail's Transport and Sport spokesman told Independent.ie.
"Bringing him in would have only dragged it out to become a dog and pony show," he added.
Mr Dooley said he supported calls for Mr Delaney to be up front about the payments, but felt he had already been so in the information he had released into the public domain.
"All matters should be dealt with at the FAI AGM not at the committee," he added.
Fine Gael TD Helen McEntee, speaking to Independent.ie refused to be drawn as to the vote at the committee but confirmed Mr Delaney will not be called in.
"All I can say is that he is not coming in," she told Independent.ie.