Friday 23 February 2018

Step too far for Hanafin

John Greene

John Greene

I T is difficult to understand why sports minister Mary Hanafin felt the need to publicly criticise the FAI's decision not to renew Packie Bonner's contract.

The minister let it be known she had a word in private with the FAI's chief executive John Delaney on his association's treatment of its outgoing technical director, a man, she said, "who is a wonderful role model".

The minister's word in private may have arguably been overstepping the mark, but if she felt strongly enough about it then fair enough. That should have been sufficient action on her part, but she chose instead to bring her objections into the public domain.

This is not a reflection on Bonner's contribution to Irish soccer, or the FAI, but why did the minister see fit to single him out? It has been reported that 12 employees are losing their jobs in this cost-cutting move and by choosing to single out Bonner, the minister has made a value judgement on the others.

On the presumption that she was not privy to the reasons the decision was taken by the FAI, or that she did not have any relevant information to hand in terms of evaluations, cost-benefit analyses and all the other things that will have formed the basis of what must have been a difficult course of action for the FAI board to take, one must come to the conclusion that the minister was indulging in a particularly garish form of political flattery.

Sunday Independent

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