After some of its most prominent coaches had been found to be sexually abusing young swimmers, and amid allegations those in charge didn’t do enough to combat the problem, the then minister for sport, Jim McDaid, withdrew all public funding until the IASA eventually declared itself null and void.
Before another penny could be received in grants, Swim Ireland had to be established in its place, and this was one of those rare occasions when a politician could be seen evincing moral courage and common sense in equal measure. Well, it may be time for somebody in Leinster House to stick their head above the parapet and do something honorable once more.
Without wanting to belittle the seriousness of the awful plague that afflicted Irish swimming, there’s a legitimate case to be made for McDaid’s successor, John O’Donoghue, deciding to cut off the supply of cash to the Football Association of Ireland. If it sounds kind of harsh, that’s because it is, and right now the people running soccer need to be taught to take their medicine. That may mean forcing them to replicate the actions of their colleagues in swimming by calling an EGM at which they could vow to rip it all up and start again. A new name would be a good start because for a couple of generations of Irish sports aficionados, FAI might as well stand for Forever Associated with Ignominy. Talk about the negative impact of branding.
The saddest part about Roy Keane’s recent degeneration into some bizarre tabloid caricature is that this has lessened the weight of his very valid criticisms about the people who run the game in Ireland. Aside from his irritation at the drinking escapades in Saipan, what sort of organization sends its squad to prepare for the World Cup on an island with no soccer pitch and then allows about