Tuesday 26 September 2017

Hickey 'will refuse to attend Dáil grilling on Olympics'

Pat Hickey is likely to stay away from the special sitting. Picture: Mark Condren
Pat Hickey is likely to stay away from the special sitting. Picture: Mark Condren
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Former OCI president Pat Hickey will not attend an Oireachtas committee to discuss the content of the State inquiry into the Rio ticketing scandal.

Invitations to the special sitting of the Sports Committee were issued yesterday to a variety of parties, including Transport Minister Shane Ross and Sport Ireland chiefs John Treacy and Kieran Mulvey.

TDs and senators want Mr Hickey to be the 'star witness' as they work through the detail of Judge Carroll Moran's report into the Olympic Council of Ireland's ticketing policies.

However, Mr Hickey's solicitor Giles Kennedy indicated to the Irish Independent that he expects to write to the committee advising them that his client cannot participate.

It is understood the former president will cite legal advice which recommends against his engagement.

Mr Hickey did not co-operate with the judge-led inquiry on the grounds it could prejudice criminal proceedings in Brazil and will adopt a similar stance now.

Prosecutors in Rio have charged the Dubliner with ticket touting, forming a criminal association/cartel and illicit marketing. The 72-year-old, who was arrested amid a blaze of international publicity at last year's Olympics, has denied all the charges.

Mr Hickey's successor as OCI president, Sarah Keane, has agreed to attend and will be accompanied by up to two other board members.

It is understood that Mr Ross will be the first witness at next Thursday's meeting, followed by the sporting representatives.

Mr Justice Moran's report will be published on Monday but the Irish Independent has revealed it fails to identify any link between the ex-OCI boss and criminal activity.

After reviewing the OCI's accounts, there is also no evidence of financial mismanagement.

However, the judge is heavily critical of Mr Hickey's governance of the body.

Fine Gael senator and member of the committee Frank Feighan said he is "extremely disappointed" that Mr Hickey won't be attending.

"The process has gone on a long time and it has been damaging to Irish sport. I hope the report answers some of the questions," he said.

Fianna Fáil's spokesman on sport, Robert Troy, said the special meeting offers an opportunity to tease out the value of the long-awaited report.

"Having not seen the report, I don't know whether we're going to be any the wiser now than we were 12 months ago," he said.

Irish Independent

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