Members of the Republic of Ireland women’s national football team and their representatives in the Professional Footballers Association of Ireland (PFAI) outlined a range of issues that have adversely affected the performance of the squad at a press conference in Liberty Hall this morning (Tuesday, 4th April). Among the problems highlighted was the failure of the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) to compensate players for loss of earnings, pay match fees for international fixtures among other issues. At the press conference, the players stated categorically that they wished to be represented by the PFAI, which is affiliated to SIPTU, in their negotiations with the management of the FAI. SIPTU Services Division Organiser, Ethel Buckley, chaired the press conference. She said: “This is an important event which concerns critical issues for the players including equality, respect and the right to collective bargaining.” She added that SIPTU supports the PFAI in its work with the players “to ensure Ireland has the most competitive international women’s football team possible.” PFAI Player Executive, Ollie Cahill, said: “The players took their issues to the FAI but did not get anywhere, so they mandated the PFAI to negotiate on their behalf. We are the recognised representative body for professional footballers in Ireland and represent League of Ireland players on a regular basis with the FAI. “These women are footballers and they want to be out there playing and doing their best. They wish to leave the job of being represented effectively to the PFAI, which has the skills to do it, but the FAI are just point blank refusing to respect this.” Republic of Ireland women’s national football team captain, Emma Byrne, said: “What we want is for the FAI to empower and enable our players to commit to training camps and international games without having to worry about taking unpaid leave from work or being forced to use up all of their holidays.” She added that it was “humiliating” that the players have had to resort to airing their grievances in public and that they wished to leave all negotiations with the FAI “in the hands of the PFAI”.