Friday 18 October 2019

'That's in the past' - Donal Óg Cusack responds after criticism over Tom Humphries character reference

Tom Humphries (inset) and Donal Óg Cusack.
Tom Humphries (inset) and Donal Óg Cusack.
Michael Verney

Michael Verney

Donal Óg Cusack has insisted that any conversation around his public support of convicted paedophile Tom Humphries "is in the past" after being ratified as Cork minor hurling boss on Tuesday night.

Cusack provided a character reference for Humphries before admitting that he had "showed a lack of judgement in this situation", subsequently stepping away from his respective roles with Sport Ireland and the Clare senior hurlers.

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The former Cork star was given the green light to take charge of the Rebel U-17 side, but not without some reservations expressed at Tuesday's county board meeting, with Muskerry delegate John Crean one of those to question his involvement.

Crean said: "I couldn’t support one of the people named tonight as manager and that is Donal Óg Cusack. That is for one reason and one reason only — for his support for Tom Humphries in a very serious matter involving a young member of a sister association."

Cusack was quizzed on the matter at a press briefing in Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Tuesday morning but wouldn't be drawn into further detail on the controversy and revealed he had said "everything I had to say" on it.

"Look, I dealt with that at the time, it was very public in terms of my statement on that and to be honest, everything I had to say was said at the time, to me that's in the past. I'm going to very much focus on the future and do the job that I am here to do for Cork," Cusack said.

Cork chairperson Tracey Kennedy interrupted the questioning to defend the appointment of Cusack and outlined how the matter had been dealt with during a rigorous appointment process.

"Every question that should have been asked of Donal Óg in the appointments process was asked by the appointments committee. They and the Cork County Board are absolutely satisfied with all responses provided by Donal Óg," Kennedy said.

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"There was a headline this morning suggesting there was serious opposition last night at the County Board (meeting) – three delegates raised concerns, one of them was about the style of hurling – out of probably 150 in the room. To put that in a little bit of perspective."

When the case was made to Cusack and Kennedy that this was a public issue that merited the question, Cork CEO Kevin O’Donovan interjected to say: "With all due respects, I think people can decide when to be public and when to be private."

Kennedy added: "Particularly when all our managers are operating in a voluntary capacity in their roles. As a County Board, we are satisfied with Donal Og’s explanations to us and we are the people who are appointing him."

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