Resignation bombshell over John Evans’ departure
WICKLOW GAA’S Billy Byrne resigned from the executive committee at Monday night’s county board meeting due to frustration at how John Evans’ departure as Wicklow Senior football manager was handled last week.
Byrne, one of Wicklow’s Leinster Council Reps and a member of the Avondale GAA Club, handed in his letter of resignation at the end of the meeting in dramatic circumstances saying that he could no longer be a member of the committee before walking out the door.
Speaking to the Wicklow/Bray People on Tuesday morning Billy Byrne outlined his frustrations at how the departure of John Evans was handled.
Byrne’s issues stem from the fact that the review meeting with John Evans was conducted by just three members of the executive committee rather than the full committee and that the communication in relation to the meeting taking place was not sufficient in his opinion.
He also claims that at the executive meeting the following week there was a unanimous lack of support for John Evans to continue as manager, something which county chairman Martin Fitzgerald rejects.
‘The whole issue of how the meeting with John Evans was held was outrageous,’ said Billy Byrne. ‘He was never brought in front of us as a full management. It was a private meeting.
‘I only found out that this meeting was happening at a Leinster Council meeting the previous Tuesday before it and I immediately (on Wednesday) sent a Whatsapp message to the management expressing my concerns that this meeting was taking place and that there was no consultation with us as members of management with what was going on.
‘I actually found out that only a certain number of people (on the executive committee) were asked attend that meeting. At the end of the day, anything they brought back to us on the Tuesday night at the meeting (in Ballinakill) was, as far as I was concerned, hearsay, and I totally disagreed with it from day one.
‘We’re members of management, it’s our responsibility to ensure that everything is right and that everybody is aware of what’s going on in the county. But having said all that I’m not all that sure that people care. Unless clubs start waking up and smelling the roses here – their only interest is in themselves, and if there’s nothing going on that concerns them in the meetings they’re not interested. And if you looked at what happened last night, no one cares, no one cares, unfortunately. We can say what we like but nobody cares.
‘I’m not prepared to have anything more to do with Wicklow GAA. I’m not prepared to stay on there and that’s why I resigned last night,’ he said.
County Chairman Martin Fitzgerald said that himself and two other members of the executive committee held a review meeting with John Evans and that while there were concerns among the members of the executive committee the following week, he could categorically confirm that John Evans stepped down of his own accord.
‘We had a review which we are entitled to do,’ said Martin Fitzgerald. ‘We had our management meeting and there were concerns. I will say, however, that anything that happens in the room at those meetings is confidential and is not supposed to be discussed outside the meeting. We spoke to John (Evans), we told him our concerns and John had no problem stepping down, he was even thinking of it himself.
‘Another thing is,’ said Fitzgerald, ‘the county management committee cannot sack a manager. Only the County Board can do that, the delegates. If John Evans had decided to stay on, then we would have put it to the delegates on Monday night and they would have made the decision.
‘John Evans resigned from his position as Wicklow Senior football manager and I have the full backing of the rest of the management committee with how this matter was handled,’ he said.
John Evans told the Wicklow/ Bray People that he was not sacked and that he stepped aside by choice.