Thursday 29 September 2016

'He certainly put me back in my box': Shane Ross reveals his meeting with 'brick wall' Pat Hickey

Published 03/09/2016 | 10:47

Pat Hickey with Sports Minister Shane Ross and Annalise Murphy,
celebrating her silver medal win
Pat Hickey with Sports Minister Shane Ross and Annalise Murphy, celebrating her silver medal win

Minister for Transport and Sport Shane Ross has revealed how Pat Hickey 'ate him for breakfast' during their initial meeting to discuss the Olympic tickets scandal.

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The minister flew out to Rio to meet with Hickey after the arrest of Kevin Mallon, the THG employee who was found to have a large number of tickets allocated to the Olympic Council of Ireland in his possession.

Famously, Hickey and Minister Ross left their initial discussion with two contrasting views of what had gone on - the Olympic administrator was pleased with their 'frank' talk while the minister was disappointed to have gathered little information about what was going on.

In an interview on the Late Late Show last night, Ryan Tubridy asked Minister Ross about his Rio showdown with Hickey, and some interesting details were revealed.

"He said it was a good meeting and a frank meeting," Minister Ross said.

"I didn't realise he said that, there was no co-operation or joint statement. I came out and I said it was a disaster. That is basically what happened.

"From his point of view I think he did very well. He got what he wanted out of that meeting, which was nothing. He said no, he wasn't going to answer any of the questions. I came out battered and bruised, having achieved very little at that meeting."

Minister Ross also told Tubridy how Hickey reacted to the prospect of having an independent person on the OCI investigation.

"[He was saying] No way," he said.

"He said that his lawyers had advised him that there was no way that we could have an independent on the inquiry. He also said that he couldn't answer, whatsoever, any questions about what had been going on, so I met a complete and utter brick wall."

In emails released by the Rio police, lawyers advised Hickey how to put Minister Ross 'back in his box'. The eye-catching statement was raised last night, and the Independent Alliance TD admitted that Hickey had got the better of them when they met for the first time in Brazil.

"I suppose it was," Ross answered when asked if it was embarrassing to be 'put back in his box' by Hickey.

"He certainly put me back in my box that night, he did. He gave me absolutely no information.

"He had bested cabinet ministers before, I heard he wasn't very fond of cabinet ministers. He would eat us for breakfast and he ate me for breakfast that day."

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