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Saturday 7 December 2019

Mooney engagement in contrast to Conway

STYLE: Donal Conway
STYLE: Donal Conway

FAI president Donal Conway does not engage in social media, but his close associate in the FAI, the association's interim boss Noel Mooney, has hungrily made use of the digital platforms, with a burst of activity in the last two days.

Mooney, reaching out to the large swathe of Ireland supporters and the football community in general who have been outraged by the wave of revelations about FAI business in the last six months, has even emerged as a Mr Fix-It character.

He was asked by one supporter: "How about unblocking all the Ireland and LOI fans from the official Twitter FAI page, who were blocked for questioning the practices of the aul regime. Show us the organisation is changing and then we may be able to get back behind it."

In response, Mooney opened his virtual door, saying: "Let's look at blocking issues."

And Mooney's openness with his Twitter account stands in marked contrast to the silence, online and verbal, from Conway this week. Conway chose not to attend the draw on Monday morning for the FAI Cup quarter-finals, despite draw hosts RTÉ announcing a day earlier that Conway would attend.

"We had hoped to have the President of the FAI here where we hoped to ask him also about some of the FAI issues in the public domain at the moment but we were told last night he was not available," RTÉ presenter Darren Frehill told listeners.

So Mooney's willingness to engage with supporters is refreshing and welcome, but the association he works for still need to fully understand what buzzwords like openness and transparency mean.

Petrified

FAI officials are petrified of discussing the current status of former CEO John Delaney in any form.

A media briefing following a seminar for League of Ireland clubs last month was shut down by the FAI's media officer at the very mention of Delaney's name.

It's accepted even by the FAI's harshest critics that five separate inquiries are ongoing in relation to the FAI's finances (the first report is due to appear within weeks) and there is a limit to what they can say in public.

But there are two questions that can be answered with a one-line response without compromising any investigation or damaging any legal process.

1. Is John Delaney still being paid by the FAI?

2. If so, is John Delaney being paid his CEO salary (€360,000 a year) or the wages from his Executive Vice President role (€120,000 pa).

Until there are answers to those posers, there's no transparency.

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