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FAI staff go public to pile further pressure on President Donal Conway

Trade union SIPTU have called his comment refusing to rule out job losses at the Association ‘unacceptable.’

Donal Conway.
Donal Conway.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

FAI STAFF HAVE ratcheted up the pressure on embattled FAI President Donal Conway by publicly noting Sports Minister Shane Ross’ demand that Conway step down at Saturday’s AGM.

In a statement, SIPTU called Conway’s comment after last Saturday’s EGM, in which he did not rule out the possibility of job losses at the FAI given the financial burden of a series of ongoing reviews and investigations “unacceptable.” 

“SIPTU members in the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) have welcomed the endorsement of the governance review recommendations that were passed at the EGM of the Association on Saturday (20th July)”, read the statement. 

“The FAI staff members have also noted the call by the Minister for Sport, Shane Ross, on FAI president, Donal Conway, to withdraw his nomination for office before the AGM of the FAI later this week.”

SIPTU Services Division Organiser, Karan O’Loughlin said: “SIPTU members in the FAI have called for the full implementation of the Governance Review recommendations in order to provide a fresh start for the Association.

“Our members are also alarmed at a statement to the media made by Donal Conway after the EGM on Saturday, warning of potential staff redundancies.

“This kind of unspecified, casual threat to the livelihoods of loyal and hard-working staff across the organisation is unacceptable and in breach of their basic employment rights.

“There are legal obligations on the organisation to consult with staff and with their trade union on any proposals for redundancies within the FAI.

“Our members in the FAI insist that it complies with its obligations in this regard. FAI staff have continued to show the utmost professionalism in very testing times and have always put the game first. It is time for others to do the same.”

Conway wrote to Shane Ross in April, promising the Board would all step down at the Association’s next E/AGM, following the fall-out to the suspension of State funding to the Association. 

The Governance Review Group report, however, included among its 78 recommendations the suggestion that “one or two” of the present Board continue for one more year on an inteirm Board, mandated to implement the recommendations. 

This has changed the picture and as a result, Conway – a Board member since 2005 – was nominated unopposed last Monday to continue in his role. 

This has proved unacceptable to Ross and to Sport Ireland, who told an Oireachtas Committee last Wednesday that they also believe Conway and the rest of the Board should go. 

Conway, having told media on Thursday that he would consider his position at a Board meeting on Saturday morning, resolved to continue for a further year in light of the voting for the governance reforms. 

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Gavin Cooney

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