Tuesday, 14 May 2019
An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business
Colm Burke (Fine Gael)
I am reading with concern about the appointments that may be made in the Football Association of Ireland, FAI, and about how some influence might be brought to bear by what are perceived to be Government agencies, if not by the Government itself. It is important that every organisation in the country maintain its independence. I am not saying there is interference, but I understand some people within the organisation are concerned that if it is perceived to be the case, the governing body at international level may decide to cease giving the FAI the financial support it requires. I am sorry about being a little vague, but I am concerned that I have received a number of calls about the matter. The last thing we need is for funding for any organisation to be withdrawn because of a perception, rather than what is actually happening on the ground. It is important that that be made clear. I understand fully that there is a need for full and thorough oversight of every organisation that is receiving state aid, including the FAI, which is accountable for that funding and making sure it is assigned to the areas for which it was given on the first day, but that does not give any Government agency or the Minister the right to interfere in how an appointment is subsequently made. It is important that a clear message be sent that the FAI does retain its independence and that the only concern we have is in respect of Government funding and making sure it is used in the appropriate way.