Sunday 4 December 2016

Pat Hickey family 'gravely concerned' - have requested meetings with ministers and Taoiseach Enda Kenny

* 'Gravely concerned' about situation
* Family request meeting with Taoiseach and ministers
* OCI confirm independent review
* Request for athletes to share ticket allocation experiences

Denise Calnan, Cathal McMahon and Kevin Doyle

Published 26/08/2016 | 15:18

Pat Hickey. Photo: Julien Behal/PA Wire
Pat Hickey. Photo: Julien Behal/PA Wire

The family of Pat Hickey have said they are "gravely concerned" about the conditions of Pat Hickey's arrest and detention in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and have requested a meeting with ministers and Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

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The family of the 71-year-old, who has temporarily stood down as president of the Olympics Council of Ireland, said they are calling on the Minister of Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan and Minister of Sport Shane Ross to intervene in the situation urgently. They have also requested a meeting with Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

In a statement issued by the Hickeys' family solicitor, Anne Marie James, the family described as "extremely worrying" the issues surrounding his arrest and detention.

"This arrest and detention occurred over seven days ago and still no charges have been brought, nor has an appropriate venue for a bail application been made available to Pat Hickey," they wrote.

The family said they also hope to meet with Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD when he returns from holidays.

A spokesperson for Taoiseach Enda Kenny told Independent.ie he had “no comment” to make on the statement, beyond pointing out that Mr Hickey “is receiving consular assistance as necessary”.

Meanwhile, Minister of Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan has replied to the family statement, saying he will meet with the Hickey family and arrangements for the meeting will be made in the coming days.

However, the statement added: "The Department cannot however provide legal advice or interfere in any way in the judicial processes in another country".

And a spokesperson for Minister Shane Ross told Independent.ie: “The Minister has received correspondence from representatives of the Hickey family which will be considered in due course.

"First and foremost, Department of Foreign Affairs continues to provide consular assistance to two Irish citizens detained in Rio. Any requests for assistance from Irish nationals abroad would be best facilitated through the recognised channels.”

Concerns

The family statement lists five elements of the situation of which they have concern:

The entrance to Bangu prison, where Pat Hickey is being held. Photo: Steve Humphreys
The entrance to Bangu prison, where Pat Hickey is being held. Photo: Steve Humphreys
  • The "manner in which Pat Hickey was arrested"
  • His "detention in a high security prison without charge"
  • The "effects of such detention on Pat Hickey’s health"
  • The "pre-trial disclosure of what is purported to be evidence to the media without any right of a reply (which is leading and imbalanced reporting)"
  • Pat Hickey’s "right to a fair hearing, given the prejudicial way in which he has been treated to date"

They have now requested an "urgent" meeting with the Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan TD and the Minister for Sport Shane Ross TD and they have also requested contact with the Brazilian ambassador Alfonso José Cardoso.

They continued: "The Hickey family is gravely concerned about the effect this degrading and humiliating ordeal has had on their father and grandfather and how it continues to affect his physical and mental health.

"He has a serious heart condition and they are extremely anxious that he would be immediately released on bail and given the opportunity to respond to the accusations.

"They also, as a priority, want to get him home to Ireland as they have increasing concerns about his safety."

They added: "It was entirely inappropriate and unacceptable for a 71-year-old Irish citizen be taken from his bedroom, arrested and walked in a state of undress before a pre-arranged camera crew, after which film and still shots were released to the global media."

Pat Hickey is currently being held in a section of the notorious Brazilian prison, Bangu.

The 71-year-old has been detained since last Friday.

Mr Hickey is being investigated under Brazilian law for alleged ticket touting, running a cartel and illicit marketing.

Review

Athletes and their families have been invited to make submissions to an accountancy firm appointed to conduct an independent review of the Rio ticketing scandal.

The Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) has announced this evening that it appointed accountancy firm Grant Thornton to conduct this review.

In a statement, released to the media, the OCI confirmed that the results of this review will be given to Judge Carroll Moran to consider as part of his State inquiry deliberations into the issue.

According to the terms of reference the Grant Thornton Forensic Services team will review the "policies, procedures, processes and practices" adopted by the OCI surrounding ticketing for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

The team will also examine all accreditations allocated by the committee and the implementation of policies and procedures surrounding the event.

The statement confirms that it will examine the procurement process that saw the OCI first opt for THG as its Authorised Ticket Reseller (ATR) and second Pro10. It will examine the way that the tickets were distributed including any resale as part of hospitality packages.

The statement goes on to the say that the reviewers will closely examine all details surrounding Pro10's appointment as ATR for Rio 2016.

As part of the Grant Thornton review, submissions will be invited from athletes and their families on their experience of ticketing allocation and availability arrangements for Rio 2016.

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