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Friday 9 December 2016

FG TDs angry after Dail committee votes not to quiz FAI chief John Delaney

John Delaney
John Delaney

A FINE Gael politician has claimed the events surrounding FAI chief John Delaney's proposed appearance in front of an Oireachtas committee sets a "dangerous precedent" in Irish politics.

Kerry South TD Brendan Griffin expressed deep concern over the decision by Mr Delaney to personally contact committee members only hours before they voted on whether to ask him to appear to answer questions over the controversial €5m Fifa payment.

The Oireachtas Transport and Sport Committee yesterday voted against the move despite strong protests from a cohort of young Fine Gael TDs.

During a tense private meeting, the clerk of the committee said he believed that bringing Mr Delaney before it may be outside its remit.

Nonetheless, almost the entire Fine Gael delegation claimed it would be helpful for Mr Delaney to appear, given the public concern surrounding the events leading to the €5m payment in 2010.

Mr Griffin, one of the Dail's youngest TDs, told the committee that a "dangerous precedent" had now been set in Irish politics.

READ MORE: Football fan 'too late' for Delaney article case

Details of the payment, made following the controversial handball incident by Thierry Henry, plunged the FAI into days of controversy.

At the weekend, both Sinn Fein and Labour members of the committee indicated their desire for Mr Delaney to appear to answer questions on the payment.

But the two parties, along with Fianna Fail and Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice, yesterday expressed their opposition to the move.

Several of those against, including Fianna Fail's Timmy Dooley and Sinn Fein's Dessie Ellis, said they did not believe it was necessary for Mr Delaney to make an appearance.

distraction

But the U-turn by some committee members came after Mr Delaney personally phoned a number of those involved, as well as other government politicians, to express his concern about appearing.

Mr Delaney claimed in some of the calls, sources say, that it could cause a "distraction" to Ireland's crunch European qualifier with Scotland this weekend.

Mr Delaney did not respond to several requests for comment.

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