Wednesday 21 August 2019

Former FAI employee refused entry into Tallaght Stadium after protest

Former FAI employee Mick Pender outside Tallaght Stadium
Former FAI employee Mick Pender outside Tallaght Stadium
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Former FAI employee Mick Pender was refused entry to Tallaght Stadium to watch the Ireland under-17s 1-1 draw with Belgium after he had staged a protest outside the ground.

Mr Pender spent 14 years working for the FAI as a development officer in Fingal but left the association earlier this year after a long, drawn out row over wages and pension cuts that ended up in the Labour Court, with staff receiving partial restoration.

Development Officers saw their wages cut by up to 15 per cent since 2012 with the FAI promising full pay restoration after 18 months. However, full pay was not restored and the matter ended up in the Labour Court after a failed intermediary process.

Mr Pender protested last night with a poster outlining how he had suffered personal losses of €70,000.

He told Independent.ie today that he tried to gain entry to the stadium with his poster but was refused entry, he claims that he was told he couldn't get into the game even after saying he would not bring the poster in.

"A female steward called on her boss when I tried to get in and he said, 'You're not getting in at all, we don't have to give you a reason'.

"I've been involved in the game for 40 years and this is the first time I've been refused entry to a game before.

"I had spoken to the gardaí prior to making my protest and I put the poster away when the president was making his way to the ground. I had made my protest in a very dignified way."

Independent.ie has contacted UEFA for a comment on the incident.

Ahead of his protest last night, Mr Pender had told Independent.ie: "I am down 70 grand at a time when I really need it," Pender told Independent.ie.

"That's why I am protesting outside the Under-17 match. It's me and my family that suffered while others were getting €3k-a-month for rent. That money would have been far more important to myself or others who had their salary cut from €43k to €35k.

"I will have a placard around me tonight with a statement to the board about the waste of football family money.

"On the other side I will highlight everything that was taken from me, from wages top pension contributions to mileage."

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