Tuesday, 14 May 2019
An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business
Jerry Buttimer (Fine Gael)
Senator Colm Burke raised the issue of the Football Association of Ireland, FAI. I do not want to stray into the internal issues of that organisation. Those of us in this House who are sports people and are interested in the welfare of all sports, but in this case soccer, recognise that the FAI has a job of work to do to clean up its house and to restore confidence in the way in which it manages its affairs. Outside influence from political or other quarters is not helpful. There is concern that UEFA payments could be suspended. I understand that represents about €16 million to the FAI. I hope all of us involved in politics, in government and in the wider Oireachtas, will allow the FAI to appoint its own CEO and get its house in order by appointing a new board and by bringing in new governance structures. The work being done on the ground is of enormous benefit to many communities across the country. We all want to see a vibrant strong FAI with proper governance and that means working with UEFA. I hope that will happen because the suspension of further funding will not help the sport of football at grassroots level.
Senator Murnane O'Connor raised the issue of Bagenalstown rail station and Senator Humphreys raised the issue of unmanned stations. I am not familiar with the situation. I know that an additional 7.10 a.m. service from Bagenalstown was added which showed that Irish Rail is committed to the route. The Senator did not mention that in her contribution.