Friday 13 December 2019

Joan Burton has no issue with FAI boss John Delaney canvassing for Minister Alan Kelly

FAI chief executive John Delaney
FAI chief executive John Delaney

Kevin Doyle and Wayne O’Connor

TÁNAISTE Joan Burton has said she has no issue with FAI boss John Delaney canvassing for her deputy leader Alan Kelly.

Ms Burton said she had no problem with Mr Delaney’s appearance on hustings in Tipperary alongside the Environment Minsiter.

“If you’re saying that John Delaney was advising people to vote for Alan Kelly I support that actually,” she told reporters. 

Mr Delaney, who is a native of Tipperary, visited a number of football clubs and a barber shop in Mr Kelly’s constituency last Friday.

According to reports he encouraged people to vote for the minister who is facing a tough battle in the five-seater constituency.

“Politics is full and always has been of people from various sporting codes and bodies who have particular political allegiances or who express a particular political viewpoint of how someone is doing without being party political at all,” Ms Burton said.

Asked if it was appropriate for the chief executive of a body like the FAI to be backing individual candidates, Ms Burton said: “I would say that’s really a matter for John Delaney. If you look at the Dáil, there are very many famous members of the Dáil who won their spurs on either the rugby field or the GAA field.

“There are a lot of them there at the moment. I think politics and sport, there’s a lot of interaction there and this is probably one of those cases.”

Earlier today Minister for Sport and Tourism Pascal Donohoe has said that he would like to establish if FAI chief executive John Delaney was canvassing for another minister.

Mr Donohoe said that he would like to know what happened when the two were in Tipperary but added that he is confident that Mr Delaney was not operating in his role with the FAI.

“My own view is that what people do in their own personal time is their business… I would be certain that John or anybody else who is involved in a public body would not be out using their office to advance any candidate,” Mr Donohoe told the Shane Coleman Show on Newstalk. “What anybody does in their private time is their own business,” he added.

"I would expect anybody who is leading up an organisation that is funded by taxpayers money would not be out advocating for any political party. I would be confident that John or anybody else would not do that.”

Mr Delaney is from the same area as Mr Kelly and it is believed the pair are good friends.

Sources close the the FAI chief said that Mr Kelly was acting in a personal capacity.

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