Tuesday 23 April 2019

TDs demand full probe into finances and 'shoddy, slapdash' appointments

Fine Gael TD Noel Rock. Photo: Tom Burke
Fine Gael TD Noel Rock. Photo: Tom Burke
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

A forensic review of the FAI's accounts is "urgent and necessary" to restore faith in the organisation, a Government TD has said.

Noel Rock, who was the first politician to call for John Delaney's resignation last week, has now gone even further to say the entire board of the football association should consider its position.

The Fine Gael TD described the decision to move Mr Delaney from chief executive to the new position of executive vice-president amounted to a "farce reshuffle" that has been given "unanimous approval" by other board members.

"This is shoddy, slapdash decision-making and bad corporate governance: this board has been in place for too long and is too beholden to the former CEO.

"Withholding of State funding may well be necessary, and we should reserve this position. In the meantime, a complete forensic review of the accounts is both urgent and necessary," he said.

Social Democrats co-leader Catherine Murphy, who is a member of the Oireachtas Sports Committee alongside Mr Rock, also told the Irish Independent it would be "beneficial" for audited accounts to be released.

She said it would help remove the shadow hanging over the FAI since it emerged Mr Delaney gave a €100,000 bridging loan to address cashflow issues in 2017.

"There's an opportunity in all of this for a new start," she said.

Ms Murphy also questioned the new role created for the soccer chief, saying it came "out of the blue".

"We'll have to tease that out [when he comes before the committee]. Where did that come from and the rationale for that?"

She added: "I don't begrudge a penny that's spent on sport but it has to be spent right. I wish we could spend more."

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said the Government wanted to be sure that any taxpayers' money given to the FAI had been spent on the purposes intended.

Asked if he was aware of any financial issues when he was minister for sport, Mr Varadkar replied: "Oh God, no."

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