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Tuesday 21 March 2023 Dublin: 11°C
# Tonight Show
'Craven leprechaun performance': Yates and Healy-Rae clash over sports committee appearance
The pair had a heated exchange on last night’s Tonight Show on Virgin Media One. / YouTube

TV PRESENTER IVAN Yates has accused TD Michael Healy-Rae of a “craven leprechaun performance” at yesterday’s Oireachtas Committee investigating the Football Association of Ireland’s finances. 

On Virgin Media’s Tonight Show yesterday evening, co-host Yates branded Healy-Rae a “national embarrassment” before criticising the Kerry TD for heaping praise on FAI executive vice-president John Delaney. 

“It was a craven leprechaun performance from you today and I was embarrassed for you that a member of our parliament would be so obsequious to someone who was not answering questions,” Yates said. 

Delaney’s appearance at yesterday’s committee was widely criticised for his refusal to answer most questions sent his way during the meeting, citing legal advice. 

During last night’s heated exchange, Yates also hit out at the fact that Healy-Rae – who is not a member of the committee – did not ask any questions of Delaney, who has been under scrutiny since revelations that he gave a €100,000 bridging loan to the FAI in April 2017. 

Healy-Rae instead praised Delaney during the meeting, declaring that if the former CEO was guilty of anything, it was of working hard for the FAI, promising Delaney “what I call ‘the mother of all welcomes when you come to Kerry.” 

Healy-Rae hit back at Yates, saying that “your rudeness goes beyond belief if that’s the way you invite a person on to your show. And you go slapping the table like a spoilt little pup.” 

“I’d ask you a question, ‘who do you actually think you are?’” the TD asked Yates. 

‘Gigantically frustrating’

While Healy-Rae branded Yates an “arrogant bully”, Yates asked how Healy-Rae “justified his performance today” as the pair shouted over each. 

“It was craven and it was leprechaun because you just want a few quid for a few goalies nets in Kerry,” Yates barked at the TD from the Kingdom. 

Healy-Rae hit back, telling last night’s show that funding for football facilities in Kerry came about through a “commitment to grassroots that people like John Delaney has had over the years.”

“It wasn’t being fairly distributed before and we need people like John Delaney who has an interest in the outer regions.”

Show. The Tonight Show / Virgin Media Ivan Yates and Michael Healy-Rae The Tonight Show / Virgin Media / Virgin Media

With Sport Ireland and Sports minister Shane Ross set to meet the Oireachtas Committee next Tuesday, the FAI saga rolls on. 

Yesterday evening, Ruth Coppinger TD, who is a member of the committee, called for the Association’s board to step down. 

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland today, Catherine Murphy TD, also a member of the committee, said it was “gigantically frustrating” that the Oireachtas committee was hampered in its questioning by Delaney’s unwillingness to answer questions.

Before yesterday’s committee meeting, Delaney invoked the recent Supreme Court ruling involving Angela Kerins in his statement.

Murphy this morning expressed her frustration that committee members were more limited in what they could ask the FAI board yesterday as a result. “We were contained… we were contained to areas where there was public money involved. Public money makes up about 5% of the FAI’s total funding.”

“But the public’s money makes up a lot more.”

With reporting by Gavin Cooney.

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