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Match of no pay as the FAI owes gardai €360k for policing games at Aviva

  • GAA paid €948k ... IRFU €248k ... but the FAI's contribution was 'nil'

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Gardai on duty outside the Aviva Stadium before an Ireland soccer match

Gardai on duty outside the Aviva Stadium before an Ireland soccer match

Gardai on duty outside the Aviva Stadium before an Ireland soccer match

The crisis-hit Football Association of Ireland (FAI) has left gardai almost €360,000 out of pocket over its failure last year to pay any money for policing major international soccer matches in Dublin.

A garda spokesman yesterday confirmed that "total fees outstanding to An Garda Siochana from the FAI for policing events is €357,244.95".

"An Garda Siochana are continuing to pursue the recovery of the outstanding sum," the spokesman added.

In a recent written Dail reply, Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan confirmed that in the year to December 12, 2019, the FAI made "zero" payments to gardai for non-public service duties.

Impact

The garda spokesman confirmed yesterday that no subsequent payment had been received from the FAI since that date.

However, the spokesman added that "this outstanding debt has had no impact on the garda budget".

The bulk of the monies would concern policing international soccer matches at the Aviva Stadium.

Last year, the senior Republic of Ireland team played four Euro 2020 qualifiers at the stadium.

The matches were against Georgia on March 26, Gibraltar on June 10, Switzerland on September 5 and Denmark on November 18.

In addition, the Boys in Green also played friendly matches at the Aviva against Bulgaria in September and New Zealand in November.

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David McGoldrick in action for the Republic of Ireland during their November 18 qualifier against Denmark at the Aviva Stadium

David McGoldrick in action for the Republic of Ireland during their November 18 qualifier against Denmark at the Aviva Stadium

David McGoldrick in action for the Republic of Ireland during their November 18 qualifier against Denmark at the Aviva Stadium

In contrast to the "nil" payments from the FAI, Mr Flanagan stated that in the year to last December 12, the GAA had made payments totalling €947,939 to gardai for non-public service duties.

The IRFU - the FAI's co-owners of the Aviva - had made payments totalling €247,627 to the gardai last year.

In his written Dail reply to Independent TD Tommy Broughan, Mr Flanagan stated the cost to the event holder is determined by the number of gardai deployed and the hours they are deployed for.

"An Garda Siochana issues invoices to all relevant event holders," he said.

"It is not always possible to define the demarcation line between public and non-public duty and it is not always feasible for An Garda Siochana to recover the total policing cost of any particular event as the over-riding concern of An Garda Siochana is public safety."

On the failure by the FAI to pay over the outstanding monies, the garda spokesman said: "The reasons for the non-payment of money owed to An Garda Siochana is a matter for the body that has not paid the money to comment on.

"No further information is available.

"We don't comment on the specifics of on-going correspondence with third parties," he added.

Asked why the FAI failed to make any payment last year or if it intended to pay the money owed to gardai, a spokesman for the FAI would only say: "We have no comment."

The failure by the FAI to make any policing payments last year is the latest illustration of the perilous financial state at the organisation that threatens jobs of people working there.

The association has current liabilities of €62m and made a loss of €8.9m in 2018.

It believes that 2019 will also be loss-making, perhaps up to €4m.

If the FAI was to enter liquidation with the scale of liabilities involved, there would be little prospect of gardai securing the monies owed.