Res­ig­na­tion bomb­shell over John Evans’ de­par­ture

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - BREN­DAN LAWRENCE at Bal­li­nakill

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.

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