Wednesday 16 October 2019

'Was John Delaney treated the same as me?' - Ex-FAI man who lost out on €70k in wages and pension cuts

‘Best years of my life’: Mick Pender, former FAI development officer, at home in Ashbourne, Co Meath. Photo: Steve Humphreys
‘Best years of my life’: Mick Pender, former FAI development officer, at home in Ashbourne, Co Meath. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Laura Lynott, Cormac McQuinn and Daniel McDonnell

A former FAI worker, who lost out on nearly €70,000 in wages and pension cuts, wants Sport Minister Shane Ross and Sport Ireland chief executive John Treacy to investigate his pension and those of others in the wake of John Delaney’s golden handshake.

Former development officer in Fingal, Mick Pender, said he gave the best years of his life to the FAI “to end up short in retirement and then to watch Delaney get this substantial golden handshake”.

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"I want to send a message to Sport Minister Shane Ross and John Treacy, enquiring into the amount paid out to Delaney and the amount of pension he will receive,” Mr Pender said.

“Was John Delaney treated the same way I was, the same way others were, when it came to pensions?

“Because when I went to draw my pension, I found the FAI hadn’t paid their contributions to my pension for the last number of years.

Read more: John Delaney agrees €350k payout as pressure grows for ex-FAI boss to quit Uefa role

John Delaney and FAI President Donal Conway (right) pictured during Ireland's EURO 2020 qualifier in Gibraltar. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
John Delaney and FAI President Donal Conway (right) pictured during Ireland's EURO 2020 qualifier in Gibraltar. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

“We were all workers for the FAI, so why should I be treated differently to John Delaney?”

He said he entered the pension scheme in good faith.

“The minister is looking for transparency, so where is the transparency?” he added.

Yesterday, chair of the Oireachtas Committee on Transport, Tourism and Sport, Fergus O’Dowd, called for the full termination package of Mr Delaney to be fully disclosed by the FAI. Mr Delaney is coming under increasing pressure to resign from his €160,000-a-year Uefa post after he formally resigned from the FAI.

The former chief executive is believed to have left with an exit package in the region of €350,000 – considerably less than he had initially been looking for.

Mr Pender said: “When I retired, I thought I’d have a decent standard of living but when I got my pension, I found I was down and instead of being able to put my feet up, it made me think I’ll have to get extra employment.

“I’m 65, I’m not as comfortable as I thought I was. I thought I’d be able to relax at this time of my life.”

Read more: David Kelly: 'John Delaney deal a missed opportunity for FAI to show it has changed its ways'

In May, Mr Pender told how he had spent 14 years working for the FAI but left 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 were cut up to 15pc 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.

An FAI spokesman said: “We do not make any comment on individual contracts.”

A Department of Sport spokeswoman said Mr Ross had “made his views known” about the payment made to Mr Delaney and his demands that the full amount be revealed.

“Sport Ireland funding remains suspended and will continue to be suspended until acceptable progress has been made in resolving outstanding issues,” she said.

Read more: 'A very handsome golden handshake' - calls for FAI to reveal details of John Delaney's €350k exit package

“Minister Ross has called for the settlement details to be published. The Government has made significant financial contributions to the FAI, both capital and current, and the minister wants transparency in whatever deal was agreed.

“He has warned that Government funding should not be used to pay off

the former CEO.”

There has been mounting pressure from across the political spectrum for the FAI to reveal the details of former boss Mr Delaney’s exit package.

Read more: Eamonn Sweeney: 'Goodbye and good riddance to fallen John the Baptist'

There is an expectation that the details of the confidential settlement will become apparent at the FAI’s AGM in November.

Sport committee chairman Fine Gael TD Mr O’Dowd said he cannot understand why the FAI does not just reveal the details immediately and accused the organisation of not being transparent.

He said the committee “will hold the FAI accountable in every respect, including John Delaney’s exit package”.

He responded to the suggestion the figures will be revealed in November, saying: “It will be almost Santa Claus time then.

“We don’t know now whether Santa has already come to John Delaney.”

Read more: 'It smacks of the old FAI'- Ex-CEO Fran Rooney hits out at lack of transparency in Delaney announcement

Meanwhile, FAI president Donal Conway is to come under renewed pressure to step

down in the wake of Mr Delaney’s exit.

Mr Conway was part of the FAI’s negotiating team which thrashed out a deal that led to the resignation of the former chief executive over the weekend. He is under pressure to consider his position to facilitate a cutting of ties with the Delaney regime.

Sources say there will be a move for Mr Conway to leave after AGM business in November, his presence being viewed as a possible stumbling block to restoring State funding.

Irish Independent

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