The war of words between Fianna Fáil TD Marc MacSharry and FAI’s Roy Barrett has escalated after the politician’s latest barb in the Dáil.
Responding to the independent chair’s advice to check his facts in the face of questioning his authority to approve loans from the State, the Sligo-Leitrim deputy reasserted his claims and called on Barrett to resign.
The row over governance at the FAI stems from the Memo of Understanding (MoU) Barrett signed with then Sports Minister Shane Ross in January to rescue the FAI from financial meltdown.
In exchange for the €35m rescue pact, newcomer Barrett vowed to alter the board structure so that independents would have the final say on all boardroom decisions.
Furthermore, under scrutiny as to whether the Goodbody Stockbrokers MD first required approval from his board and council to broker a €7.6m State loan to cover the Aviva Stadium licensing costs until 2024, Barrett insists he attained the implied consent of council afterwards in March.
MacSharry disagrees, contending the vote he refers to covers only a separate Bank of Ireland refinancing agreement.
“No board meeting was called to consider or approve the MoU, only a draft was sent to them on the morning of the meeting which he (Barrett) went ahead and signed despite reservations being expressed by directors,” MacSharry said.
“On the State loan, my question is how can he (Barrett) claim to have express sanction from the council when his own board still have not received, let alone approved, any terms and conditions, or other legal agreement, for these loans.
“The MOU expressly stated that it is not a legally binding contract. Perhaps the chairman has signed the loan agreement with the State and intends seeking his board’s approval at a later date, as he did with the MoU.”
MacSharry called on Barrett to quit. “Not only is there no amount, repayment date nor interest rate, there’s no reference at all to State borrowings. How could there be if the board hadn’t approved it? Mr Barrett should firstly recheck his facts and then resign.”
Meanwhile, former Ireland U21 boss Noel King has left the FAI. The 63-year-old had headed up the FAI’s scouting department for the past two years.