Veteran industrial relations negotiator Peter McLoone will mediate talks between the FAI and Siptu on August 9 to try avoid a full Labour Court hearing on a staff pay claim.
Despite the FAI painting a rosy picture of their finances at Saturday’s annual general meeting in Kilkenny, staff are still waiting for the wage cuts they endured over recent years to be restored.
A gesture to repay just 3% last year was met with an angry response by Siptu, whose membership in the association’s technical department has risen steadily as austerity hit hard across all areas of the game.
Aside from wages, which were reduced by at least 10% but more in some cases, other employee entitlements such as mileage allowance for development officers were culled.
The FAI’s top-brass, including chief executive John Delaney, regularly laud the 54 development officers for their contribution to fostering the game nationwide.
Siptu organiser Denis Hynes had overseen the escalation of the dispute to a Labour Court case but will hold fire pending the outcome of McLoone’s involvement.
The former Ictu general secretary was retained by Delaney in April to chair talks to prevent the Ireland women’s squad from following through with their threat of boycotting the friendly international against Slovakia.
A range of grievances, including recompense for players taking unpaid leave from their day-jobs and the provision of tracksuits for matches, were resolved after a marathon eight-hour summit.
The mood within FAI staff has hardened on the back of bullish statements emerging around the AGM.
It was confirmed from their most-recently published accounts that the association for the first time in many years possessed almost €1m in cash, the same amount estimated to address the pay claim.
News that a large chunk of the €6.5m in costs attached to the Euro 2016 finals went to well-paid players and staff didn’t go down well either with the rank and file at the coalface.
Saturday’s AGM was the longest for several years, lasting two hours and 20 minutes.
The latter section was reserved for Niamh O’Donoghue, the newly-elected member of the FAI board. O’Donoghue, secretary general of the Department of Social Protection, vowed during his speech to seek equality for females in her role.
Mick Hanley also joined the all-powerful committee during the last year, replacing the deceased Milo Corcoran, and O’Donoghue’s elevation expands the board to 11 members.
Also announced during the meeting was a start date for the new U13 national league of March 2018.
Already, controversy has engulfed the maiden U15 national league before a ball has been kicked on August 20. The inclusion of St Kevin’s Boys, the only non-League of Ireland club, has caused dismay from schoolboy clubs across who were the led to believe they wouldn’t be successful in applying unless an alliance was made with a League of Ireland entity.
Cork clubs and officials featured prominently in the FAI communications awards.
Cork City picked up the prize for best digital initiative while Richard Holland from the Cork Schoolboys League collected the Noel O’Reilly Coach of the Year award.
MSL club Carrigaline United won the Club of the Year gong while Tina Murphy from Passage AFC received the Jeremy Dee Services to Women’s Football Award.
Delaney confirmed that next year’s AGM and festival of football will be held at the Rochestown Park Hotel in Cork on August 18.
FAI communications awards
John Kenny (RTÉ).
Ramsey Cardy (Sportsfile).
Best Digital Initiative:
Cork City FC. Best PRO: John Hudson (Colleges & Universities).
Noel O’Reilly Coach of the Year:
Richard Holland (Cork Schoolboys League).
Jeremy Dee Services to Women’s Football Award:
Tina Murphy (Passage AFC).
Services to Football Club Merit Award:
Conal Kavanagh (Arranmore United).
FAI Club of the Year Merit Award:
FAI Club of the Year:
John Sherlock Services to Football:
Jimmy Corrigan (Ballinahown FC), Simon Baker (IAFA and EAFF), Frank McEvoy (Killeigh Schoolboys & Schoolgirls), Patrick McDonnell (Walshestown FC), Christy Ginnety (Trim Celtic), Sean O’Keefe (Asdee Rovers), Mike Rice (Asdee Rovers), Dave Connolly (Geraldines AFC), Michael Geary (Galway Football Association), Richard McSweeney (Portlaoise AFC), John Corrigan (Kilkenny District League), Michael Hennessy (Evergreen FC), Sean Murphy (Nurney Villa FC).
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