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Dublin: 3°C Sunday 28 February 2021

Niall Quinn dismisses Barrett conflict claims as 'accusations from naysayers'

FAI chairman has denied any conflict of interest despite Bank of Ireland recommendation.

Quinn: "Last cry from the naysayers."
Image: Virgin Media TV

NIALL QUINN HAS dismissed the controversy surrounding FAI chairman Roy Barrett’s appointment as “nonsense” and “accusations from naysayers”.

Barrett has denied any conflict of interest after it emerged that he was recommended for the role by the chairman of Bank of Ireland, the Association’s principal creditor.

Questions about that arrangement overshadowed Monday night’s EGM at which the Association approved a series of measures to allow them to access the bailout funds.

Quinn — who is the FAI’s interim deputy CEO — appeared in his other public role this evening as a studio pundit on Virgin Media ahead of Ireland’s Nations League meeting with Bulgaria.

And he said that the scrutiny of Barrett’s appointment in recent days was “the last cry from the naysayers”.

“It’s my understanding that there was a whole host of people recommended to Amrop for that role, the headhunters who would be putting that position together,” Quinn told presenter Tommy Martin.

“In terms of Roy’s selection, the negotiations which was between the Department of Sport, Sport Ireland, the banks, Uefa — there was a big collective at the time, it made zero difference. To even suggest that he was conflicted was wrong.

“He went and got as great a deal as we could possibly get. The fruits of that will come because the alternative was just unthinkable.

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“He satisfied government which was very important because if you look at the deal, without government backing there was no point.

“His work, other than in tabloid headlines from the naysayers, often gets overlooked but he’s been a brilliant independent chairman to get the deal, to settle it down, to bring the result that we got on Monday night to give the game a shot going forward and I’ve no doubt he’ll kick on from this.”

Quinn added: “When people make noise like that and try and build it up to be something bigger than it is, we can get carried away sometimes with headlines.

“Amrop had a ton of recommendations, one that a bank came up with and threw a name at — I think they threw others as well — to throw that at this point is the last cry from the naysayers.

“It’s nonsense in my opinion and we move forward.”

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Niall Kelly

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