The board of the FAI has decided to refer the report the organisation commissioned from accountancy firm Mazars into its own finances during the period that John Delaney was chief executive to the Garda Síochána and the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE).
The decision comes after a period of prolonged uncertainty with the regard to whether the report was to be published by the association. It is the second major external report into the running of the FAI to be referred to the Garda. Last November, Sport Ireland took the decision to take the same course of action in relation to the report it had commissioned from Newry based firm Kosi.
It had been hoped that because of the different approach taken to interviewing staff at the organisation, and differences in the way that those interviews were subsequently dealt with by Mazars, that the association might be in a stronger position to make its findings public.
Only last week, however, acting interim chief executive Gary Owens told The Irish Times that its fate remained uncertain.
The ODCE have been looking into the way the association, which was plunged into crisis last year when Delaney was forced to depart and the full scale of its debts became apparent, had been run in recent years and many of its senior figures during the period have been interviewed as part of that investigation.
It is still not clear what action, if any, might be taken against any of those centrally involved in the events that almost led to the collapse of the association over the course of 2019 and the need for it to be bailed out by Government and other stakeholders earlier this year.
Delaney stepped down from his role as chief executive at the association in March of last year before severing ties completely in September when he received a payment of almost €500,000 aimed at facilitating his departure. He recently listed himself in company documents as living in London.
Two other key directors, honorary secretary Michael Cody and honorary treasurer Eddie Murray, resigned from the association's board in April of last year.
The Mazars report had been quickly commissioned by the association itself when the organisation’s finances first started to come under greater public and political scrutiny in the wake of a Sunday Times story relating to a cheque for €100,000 written by Delaney to his employer which turned out to be a loan to help it meet its short-term commitments.
There was initial scepticism about the report but the change of leadership at Abbotstown seemed to impact on that. At a meeting of the Oireachtas Committee of transport, tourism and sport a matter of weeks after work on the report had been started, the chair of Sport Ireland Kieran Mulvey, and its chief executive John Treacy said the firm's remit was being extended dramatically. Mulvey said that the terms were to include an examination of expenses' claims and third-party transactions relating to board members and employees, including credit card usage.
Among the transactions subsequently looked into were a number of payments to Delaney's former partner, Susan Keegan, who now lives in Spain where she runs a gym.
Keegan is believed to have been listed in the FAI’s accounts as having received around €95,000 in various sums from the association, a substantial portion of which was recorded as being a payment for a role it was claimed she had played as a match agent for friendly games against England.
The Dubliner is understood to have acknowledged receiving a small portion of the money but denied receiving most of it. It has been reported that representatives of Mazars spoke with her for several hours last year as part of the firm’s investigation.