Some Football Association of Ireland (FAI) employees are "extremely annoyed" about the association's financial arrangements with former chief executive John Delaney.
Denis Hynes, sports section organiser of trade union Siptu, said FAI employees want answers. “They want to know how did it come to this situation,” he told RTE’s News at One.
He said in 2012 FAI employees agreed to pay cuts of between 10 and 15 per cent and that pay had been restored in January of this year.
He said staff were “infuriated” at reports that in 2016, the FAI began paying rent of €3,000 per month for a house used by John Delaney. “This was during a period when the organisation was claiming to be unable to restore the pay and conditions of employment of our members due to financial constraints.”
The Sunday Times reported that as well as his €360,000 salary, the FAI paid €3,000 a month rent on a house for Mr Delaney in Co Wicklow.
Siptu represents staff employed as development officers, coaches and in the administration of the FAI, as well as players through its affiliation with the PFAI.
The call comes after Mr Delaney stepped down from his position, and took up a new role as executive vice-president over the weekend.
The FAI announced he would step down as part of a restructuring of its senior management. The move came after it emerged Mr Delaney had provided the FAI with a €100,000 cheque in 2017 which did not appear in its audited accounts. The organisation said the payment was a bridging loan to deal with a short-term cash flow issue and was paid back two months later.
Despite stepping down as chief executive, Mr Delaney will still appear before the Oireachtas Committee on Transport, Tourism and Sport next month where he is expected to face questions about the 2017 payment.
The committee chairman Fine Gael TD Fergus O’Dowd, insisted the hearing will not be a “witch hunt”. He told Newstalk Breakfast the hearing will focus on the overall governance of the FAI and the €2.7million grant the organisation receives from the Exchequer every year. “The Oireachtas job is to look at the governance. John Delaney is the key player in that but it is about how it was managed in terms of all of those issues and others that may arise in the interim.”
Minister for Health Simon Harris said he did not think public funds should be withdrawn from the FAI. “ think we want to continue to financially support sport, but I do think there are very serious questions for John Delaney and more broadly the FAI to answer. These questions go to the very heart of good governance and I am sure that the Oireachtas committee will asked these questions, and in a fair but robust way.”
Former chief executive of the FAI Fran Rooney said there are issues surrounding corporate governance and transparency in the FAI that need to be addressed.
“What has happened over the past week has raised more questions than it has answered,” Mr Rooney, who was head of the FAI for 18 months in 2003-2004, told RTE’s Six One News. “The whole timing is appalling and it is disgraceful from the point of view of the football fans and people behind football, the people who put money into it and volunteer for the game,” he said.