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Tuesday 6 December 2016

Irish Olympic House mystery takes new twist

Graham Clifford

Published 01/12/2011 | 05:00

When I interviewed Pat Hickey on Monday, November 14 at the Irish Embassy, he spoke of the close co-operative work between state and sporting agencies in Ireland in the build-up to the Olympic Games.

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Less than 24 hours later, the president of the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) had penned his resignation from a major government task force set up to find ways in which Ireland could benefit from London 2012, labelling it a "toothless talking shop".

Among a range of things Mr Hickey was unhappy with was the way Tourism Ireland had handled a request made to it by his own son, Stephen.

The appeal, which turned out to be unsuccessful, was for the sponsorship of approximately €300,000 towards the cost of running the Irish hospitality house earmarked for the Roundhouse venue in Camden.

Stephen Hickey is employed by THG sports, the company tasked with finding a location for the 'Irish House' and running it during the Games.

THG is also the official London 2012 ticket reseller for Ireland.

Stephen Hickey refused to comment when contacted this week.

A spokesman for the OCI confirmed the intention remained to hold an 'Irish House' in London, though he conceded alternative venues were being looked at in case an agreement was not reached with the Roundhouse in Camden.

He said: "We expect to know in the next fortnight if we will use the Roundhouse or not.

"It's a popular music venue and it needs to know what it's doing next summer just as we do.

"THG Sports are looking at other locations as well but the plans to have such a house for Irish people in London during the Games remains."

The cost of hiring out the venue and running the house during the Games is expected to cost in excess of €1m.

Irish Independent

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