The FAI could be facing further payouts to disgruntled former employees after Packie Bonner’s ex-personal assistant settled her case for unfair dismissal.
Amongst those understood to be considering an action against the association is Eoin Hand. The former Ireland manager was let go in July, 13 years after he began the role of career guidance officer to young players. His job specification was broadened in 2004 to football services manager.
On Monday, an Employment Appeals Tribunal confirmed that Vanessa Tucker, former PA to then-FAI Technical Director, Packie Bonner, had reached a settlement in her unfair dismissal case. She had taken the action on foot of her redundancy in November 2011.
At an initial hearing of the case in September, FAI human resources director Stephen Driver had denied the claim made that a “hit-list” of employees had been drawn up for that round of 12 redundancies.
Though the complainant was due to give evidence herself at Monday’s hearing, the confidential agreement reached late on Friday prompted her solicitor, Fiona Kelly, to inform EAT Chair Penelope McGrath of the settlement.
The tribunal has the power to award up to two years’ pay in compensation to workers it finds were unfairly dismissed from their jobs.
Hand, who won 20 caps and managed the Ireland team from 1980-1985, admitted to being “surprised and disappointed” when informed by his employers of his contract not being renewed.
Along with providing advice to players, the former Limerick boss successfully aided grassroots clubs in obtaining FIFA compensation entitlements arising from transfers of players to cross-channel clubs.
His brief was amalgamated into a new role created by the FAI, entitled “Child Welfare, Education and Regulations officer”, which has since been internally appointed to Vincent Flaherty.
Another case the FAI and chief executive John Delaney are set to defend is from ex-Finn Harps manager Patsy McGowan. The Donegal native is suing the association, contending he was prevented from earning a living from newspaper articles due to threats made against the publications by John Delaney and the FAI.
A date in the High Court had been set for November 27 but that hearing has been put back until February.
Delaney revealed at the association’s AGM in July that only bank interest was being serviced on their €50 million debt incurred from their portion of the costs associated with the development of Lansdowne Road.
Accounts published for 2011 illustrated the burden of that debt. During those twelve months, the figure had surged from the previous year to €4.8m, costing the FAI over €90,000 per week.
FAI financial controller Tony Dignam warned delegates at the AGM that 2012 would be another challenging year, especially with just one competitive home match — the 6-1 trouncing by Germany in September — at Aviva Stadium. Delaney remains confident the FAI will be debt-free by 2020.
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