FAI claims questions over Barrett’s appointment ‘deflects from the real issues’

Larry Bass has called for the resignation of Barrett and two other independent directors

FAI chairman Roy Barrett. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

FAI chairman Roy Barrett. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

 

The FAI has claimed that a suggestion that Roy Barrett might owe his position to a recommendation from a senior figure at the Bank of Ireland “deflects from the real issues facing the Association and the decisions that need to be made to safeguard the future of Irish football”.

In a response to a series of questions put to it by The Irish Times in relation to the issues raised by Larry Bass in a letter to Barrett, the association says that: “Amrop were engaged to source suitable candidates for the role of Independent Chairperson of the FAI. Roy Barrett was identified by Amrop, recommended by them to the Nominations Committee of the FAI and his appointment was approved by the Board.”

It contends that “any other assertion is just misleading”. The two paragraph response, which goes on to talk about the “new and robust governance structure,” before asserting that the association “is focussed on presenting the facts to members in advance of our EGM on Monday night” does not directly address any of the questions raised, including the issue of whether Barrett himself had, as Bass suggests he might have in the letter sent on Thursday, told at least one other FAI board member that the recommendation had come from the figure at the bank.

Asked if he was person is question yesterday, Bank of Ireland chairman Patrick Kennedy declined to comment.

Bass calls for the resignation of Barrett and two other independent directors, Catherine Guy and Liz Joyce, over what he regards as governance failures at the association since their appointment in January of this year, shortly before the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Government was concluded.

With regard to the temporary appointment of Gary Owens as chief executive, Bass suggests that Barrett played an active role in the interview process despite having well publicised links to Owens through their involvement in the “Visionary Group” that was created after Niall Quinn had spoken publicly about the need for change at the association.

Having been appointed himself, Owens then created a deputy chief executive role for Quinn and the board agreed to both men taking up the roles.

Bass’s questions here echo the widely made claim that the three effectively staged a takeover by assuming key positions within the troubled organisation, an assertion repeatedly denied, most recently on Tuesday, by Quinn.

Bass also asserts that the association has failed to meet its responsibilities on the governance front, with ostensibly key committees like audit risk and compliance, as well as finance, having failed to meet.

Seán Brodie, a partner at PwC, resigned from the former back in May citing its inactivity as the reason for his departure and Andrew Doyle, a former managing partner at the Irish operation of the law firm, Maples and Calder, departed more recently complaining about that and many other governance issues.

Ultimately, Bass, who is the chief executive of Dancing with the Stars production company, Shinawil, calls on the three independent directors who have been in place since January to go now.

In fact, the terms of the entire board will be extended until the end of March if the motion to endorse the Memorandum of Understanding with Government and accept its conditions is passed at Monday’s EGM, something Bass also criticises.

Bass says that he will not be resigning his council or committee positions at this time.

His letter is the latest manifestation of the ongoing unhappiness among some council members over Barrett’s stewardship and, in particular, the manner in which the MoU came to be agreed with Government, something Quinn and others have argued must be accepted on Monday if the financial future of the association is to be secured.

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