The FAI’s finance director, Mark O’Leary, has resigned from his position and will finish p working with the organisation this evening, it was announced yesterday. A spokesman for the association claimed the decision was prompted by O’Leary’s desire to return to work in industry and was not related to the organisation’s current financial position.
Only amatter of weeks ago, however, O’Leary played a key part at the association’s agm in Wexford in reassuring representatives of clubs, leagues and other affiliates that the financing of Lansdowne Road’s redevelopment was not placing an unmanageable burden on their finances.
He told delegates at the time the debt, which is believed to exceed €50 million, was to be rescheduled so as to allow for repayment by 2020. He said a business plan had been agreed that would enable the association to meet this target and hinted it would involve both the generation of greater revenues and the tightening of expenditure.
He gave no indication, however, that he would not be staying on to oversee the plan’s implementation despite the fact he had apparently indicated his desire to depart more than three months previously.
“He actually stayed on a little bit longer than his contractual period,” said the association’s communications director, Peter Sherrard in Yerevan yesterday when asked about the suddenness of the announcement.
“He wanted to stay on for the completion of the stadium and the agm. There are personal and private reasons and professional reasons for the timing of the announcement and the way it is being done.
“We thank him very much for his contribution to the association over the past five years. He has done a good job to get us where we are in terms of the financing of the stadium and seeing the project out. Of course, we are sorry to see him go, I think he has done a very good job for the association, which has come on a lot in his five years.”
Pádraig Smith, a key figure in the club licensing scheme over the last few years, will take over O’Leary’s responsibilities on an interim basis.
The Irish Times