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'To suggest there was a conflict of interest was wrong' - Niall Quinn launches passionate defence of Roy Barrett

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FAI independent chair Roy Barrett. Photo: Sportsfile

FAI independent chair Roy Barrett. Photo: Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

FAI independent chair Roy Barrett. Photo: Sportsfile

Niall Quinn has mounted an impassioned defence of Roy Barrett, describing the FAI's leading director as a 'brilliant independent chairman.'

Barrett has come under scrutiny in the aftermath of reports detailing that recruiters Amrop received a recommendation from Bank of Ireland chief Patrick Kennedy before his appointment. The new FAI negotiator then entered into rescue deal talks that involved the bank.

Quinn played down the criticism speaking on Virgin Media ahead of Ireland's showdown with Bulgaria, stating that 'naysayers' were trying to 'build something up to be bigger than it is.'

He repeated the view that Barrett thrashed out a good deal in January, stating the 'alternative was unthinkable', with insolvency an option.

"To suggest there was a conflict of interest was wrong, it made zero difference," said the interim deputy CEO, whose own FAI future is now up in the air.

"Amrop had a ton of recommendations. One that a bank came up with and threw a name at, I think they threw others as well.

"To throw that - at this point - is the last cry from the naysayers. It's nonsense in my opinion and we move forward.

"He went and got as great a deal as we could possibly get and the fruits of that will come.

"He satisfied government - which was very important - because if you look at the deal, without government backing there was no point. I just feel his work, other than in tabloid headlines from the naysayers, often gets overlooked. He has been a brilliant independent chairman. I've no doubt he will kick on from this."

Quinn's fellow panellist Brian Kerr did praise Barrett for taking on a voluntary role and suggested that the practice of letters filtering into the media needs to stop.

Strong private comments from Cabinteely chairman Larry Bass made their way into the public domain before he gave a series of interviews about FAI governance.

"I feel he (Barrett) is a very honourable fella who has taken on a position that I wouldn't say there are thousands of people out there that would have been brave and courageous enough to take it on.

"I don't think he wants a big profile. My impression is that he's a shy person who wants to work away quietly at his day job. I would hope there's a lot less reporting of negative letters written to the FAI. I haven't enjoyed seeing letters being reproduced that appear - to me - to be private letters, letters of criticism of individual people."

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