War of words erupts over €75,000 FAI 'development officer' role

A rift has emerged between local councillors over a proposal to co-fund, with the FAI, the appointment of a soccer development officer in Kilkenny.

The issue came to light at Friday’s meeting of the Kilkenny City Municipal District, when discussing the budget, Sinn Féin councillor David Kennedy said he couldn’t in good faith support a €20,000 cut to the area’s budget, and ‘hand it over’ to the FAI. He said it was the FAI’s job to fund and support soccer clubs.

He was backed up by Cllr Patrick McKee, who said he did not believe it was fair and equitable, given the €20,000 cut, to enter into a contract with the FAI for €75,000 over the next three years.

“The FAI have enough money and we shouldn’t be using public monies to fund that,” he said.

Defending the proposal, Cllr Matt Doran said that the proposal is to offer support and co-fund a development officer for the FAI over one year, not three. He said there was great interest in soccer here, and the plan would be reviewed on a quarterly basis. Director of services Tim Butler added that the FAI have set out a three-year programme but members can only commit to €25,000 a year, one year at a time.

Cllr Doran said the FAI had provided significant money to local clubs. He said he was impressed with the plan and details supplied. Cllr David Fitzgerald said the council provided assistance for others, such as the GAA at Dunmore, or the new footpath out to Foulkstown.

Cllr McKee said this was different from investment in infrastructure.

“We are entering into a contract to employ someone for a function I believe the FAI should do themselves,” he said.