FAI staff looking for clarity on job security; Gerry Thornley on Ireland’s halfback dilemma

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Efrem Gidey with his bronze medal from the Men’s U20 race and members of his club Clonliffe Harriers at the Team Ireland homecoming from the European Cross Country Championships. Photo: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Efrem Gidey with his bronze medal from the Men’s U20 race and members of his club Clonliffe Harriers at the Team Ireland homecoming from the European Cross Country Championships. Photo: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

When the news came last week that the FAI was in debt to the tune of €55 million and the extent of the association’s problems were laid bare, the questions turned to how many jobs could be lost. Various numbers have been floating around over the last few days with suggestions that the figure could be 60 if Ireland don’t qualify for next year’s Euro 2020 Championships. To put that in context – a large number of people’s livelihoods may be resting on Ireland winning two matches away from home over the space of five days. It’s far from a desirable position to be in and Emmet Malone reports this morning that the union representing many of the FAI’s staff hopes to meet with management over the coming days to get some clarity on what that figure actually is. Meetings have already been held with staff but have led to frustration as management failed to disclose exact details. On the same subject this morning, Jack Horgan-Jones reports that one of the associations main sponsors – SSE Airtricity – are to meet with officials this week to discuss their concerns.

Moving to rugby now and Gerry Thornley writes in his column this morning that the Irish halfback situation – once set in stone – is now not so certain. “As things stand, both Sexton and Carbery are sidelined and, albeit this far out, appear to be significant doubts for the start of the Six Nations. So what would happen then?” he writes. Yesterday, Robin McBryde gave his first interview since taking over as Leinster’s scrum coach. “There’s a bit of pressure, but I’m here to perform as well. I’m conscious of that; I can’t be in the background all the time. I’ve to step into the breach and take some responsibility and ownership. I’m just introducing them to different ways of thinking, different ways of coaching,” said current Grand Sword Bearer of the Gorsedd of British and Irish bards.

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