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'I don't think anybody would be satisfied by it': Leo Varadkar on John Delaney's Oireachtas appearance

Leo Varadkar said the FAI was answerable to the ODCE which has questions that need to be answered.

Image: Leah Farrell/Rollingnews.ie

TAOISEACH LEO VARADKAR has criticised John Delaney’s appearance before the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Transport, Tourism and Sport on Wednesday.

The FAI’s executive vice-president and former CEO did not answer questions from TDs about the €100,000 bridging loan during the meeting, citing “legal advice” as his reason. 

It sparked widespread criticism from committee members, including TD Ruth Coppinger, who called for the entire FAI board to step down

In his first comments since the meeting, Leo Varadkar said Delaney was entitled to not to  answer those questions on legal advice, but said football fans and the general public alike would not be satisfied. 

“I don’t think anyone would be satisfied by it. I think the public taxpayers, football fans would have liked to have seen those questions answered,” Varadkar told reporters. 

“But the truth is he was within his legal rights not to answer those questions because he’s not a public servant and therefore is not accountable to the Oireachtas. 

“However, the FAI is accountable to the ODCE – the office of Director of Corporate Enforcement – and is accountable to Sport Ireland for the public money they get. 

“And I know those bodies will have questions to ask of the FAI which I think need to be answered – thus allowing us to do what we want to do, which is to restore funding to the FAI.”

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In his opening statement at the committee hearing, Delaney said “On legal advice, I am precluded from making any further comment at this hearing in relation to the finances of the association or my former role as CEO, or the €100,000 payment either directly or indirectly”. 

Much of the questions asked were directed to the current President of the FAI, Donal Conway, as a result. 

On Tuesday, Sport Ireland said it would be withdrawing funding from the association over failure to respond to questions concerning finance and governance within the organisation. 

Meanwhile, UEFA today confirmed it was aware of Sport Ireland’s decision to suspend funding to the FAI but said it would make no further comment on the matter. 

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