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Wednesday 8 February 2023 Dublin: 6°C
Oireachtas/Photojoiner
# FAI
Michael Healy-Rae apologises for supporting John Delaney during 2019 Oireachtas appearance
The Kerry TD said in April 2019 that he was “quite confident” that Delaney could only be accused of being “passionately committed to his job”.

KERRY TD MICHAEL Healy-Rae has apologised to anyone who was “offended” after he voiced his support for John Delaney during a 2019 Oireachtas hearing.

Delaney was called before the Oireachtas Sports Committee in April last year to answer questions from TDs about the Football Association of Ireland’s finances. 

During this hearing, Healy-Rae didn’t use the three-minute time slot allocated to him to ask questions, and instead praised Delaney for his work for Kerry clubs:

“I am quite confident that the only thing that Mr Delaney could be accused of is being passionately committed to his job… that all he was trying to do was good.”

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At the time, the full scale of the financial problems at the Football Association of Ireland wasn’t known; but concerns were being raised after The Sunday Times revealed that John Delaney gave a €100,000 ‘bridging loan’ to the Association in April 2017. 

Delaney later stood down from his role as CEO, and took on the role of ‘Executive Vice President’. He later resigned from the FAI in September 2019.

The day before his appearance at the Oireachtas committee, Sport Ireland announced that it was temporarily suspending funding to the organisation over the issue. 

During an interview with Radio Kerry this morning, when asked why he supported Delaney at that time, Healy Rae apologised, saying that he was “wrong”: 

Anything that I said, looking back on it now, was wrong. The reason I would have said it at the time was I thought I was right.
If anything I said offended anybody or insulted anybody I’m profoundly sorry for that.

The Radio Kerry presenter who interviewed Healy-Rae this morning, Jerry O’Sullivan, asked Healy-Rae why he gave Delaney his ‘full backing’ at the Oireachtas meeting considering the questions being asked about the FAI at the time. Healy-Rae was also not a member of that Oireachtas committee, but requested to take part.

Healy-Rae replied that he attended the Oireachtas hearing because anytime Delaney was asked to support small clubs in Kerry, he did so.

Radio Kerry quote Healy-Rae as having said that he had “no monopoly on being right all the time”, and that if the FAI accountants didn’t know at the time, how was he supposed to know.