“Contempt shown to Oireachtas Committee shows need for something more forensic to get at facts.”
An Inquiry along the lines of the Moran Inquiry into the Rio ticket sales is the only way to get the facts behind the Delaney loan to the Football Association of Ireland, Senator Rónán Mullen said today.
Senator Mullen was speaking in the wake of his Seanad intervention yesterday in which he criticised the conduct of FAI officials before the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport, Tourism and Sport on Wednesday.
“It is clear that the Committee lacks the capacity, and ultimately the credibility to seek out and establish facts with the speed and the clarity that the public deserves. An Inquiry along the lines of the non-statutory Moran Inquiry into the Rio ticket sales is the logical next step.”
“Compared to other, statutory, inquiries, the Moran Inquiry was quick and cost-effective,” Senator Mullen said. “The report was published within nine months and cost just over €300,000. Should an Inquiry into the Delaney loan and related governance issues disclose reasonable grounds for public concern, its costs can be recouped from FAI over a period of years through deductions from public monies allocated from Sport Ireland or otherwise.”
Senator Mullen said that he could not envisage circumstances in which an Oireachtas Committee could get at the facts in a timely manner while being fair to everyone. “I’ve long been a sceptic of the capacity of Oireachtas Committees to get at the facts behind issues of public concern,” Senator Mullen said. I was an opponent of the Referendum on committee powers which would have overturned the effects of the Abbeylara judgment because I do not think politicians are best placed to make findings that are adverse to people’s reputations.”
Politicians were “not entitled to the luxury of grandstanding in the media while also purporting to ask questions on behalf of the public,” Mullen said.
“But I also object to the way FAI officials refused to deal comprehensively with legitimate questions connected with the Committee’s mandate to ask questions about governance,” Mullen said.
“To fail to set up an Inquiry at this point would legitimise such behaviour,” Mullen said. “The contempt shown to the Committee shows the need for something more forensic now to get at the facts.”
Read transcript of Seanad Intervention here