Shane Ross apologises to FAI staff for 'who cooked my goose?' tweet
Sports minister Shane Ross has said he is "really sorry" that Football Association of Ireland (FAI) staff were offended by comments he made on Twitter which were accompanied by a photograph of him with a roasted goose.
On St Stephen's Day, Mr Ross posted an image of himself on Twitter holding a freshly cooked goose. The caption read: "Guess who cooked my goose? The FAI? The Judges? The Vintners?"
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A number of people including FAI staff, who fear their jobs may be at risk due to the perilous state of the association's finances, along with politicians and sports stars, took offence at the tweet.
Former Ireland footballer Kevin Kilbane called Mr Ross a "clown" while retired rugby international Gordon D'Arcy said the tweet showed the minister had neither "empathetic nor leadership qualities" required to resolve the FAI crisis.
Speaking to the Sunday Independent, Mr Ross apologised if any FAI workers felt he was "making light of a highly serious situation", adding: "They can rest assured that their interests are top priority.
— Shane Ross (@Shane_RossTD) December 26, 2019
Guess who cooked my goose? The FAI? The Judges? The Vintners ? pic.twitter.com/yXptsFUJdw
"I was just highlighting three groups of insiders with vested interests who have resisted my proposed reforms to their protected citadels: the judges who are still trying to retain their inner circle; the vintners who resisted my drink-driving Bill tooth and nail; and the old guard at the top in the FAI who haven't all gone away, you know."
It comes as the FAI today holds its annual general meeting, which is expected to be dominated by ongoing controversy about its finances.
Mr Ross said he and Minister of State Brendan Griffin had a "very helpful" meeting with trade union officials before Christmas and were meeting the League of Ireland in the coming week.
"We remain hopeful that the principal block to meaningful reform - the appointment of long overdue independent directors - will be removed early in the new year," he added.
Read the full interview here