Sunday 25 September 2016

Hickey urged minister not to use the phrase 'ticket touts' in public

Cathal McMahon

Published 26/08/2016 | 02:30

Minister for Sport Shane Ross met with Pat Hickey in Rio Photo: Doug O'Connor
Minister for Sport Shane Ross met with Pat Hickey in Rio Photo: Doug O'Connor

Pat Hickey wrote to Minister Shane Ross after their meeting at the Rio Olympics asking him to refrain from using phrases such as "black market" and "ticket touts" publicly, new emails have revealed.

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Honorary general secretary Dermot Henihan wrote to 12 Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) committee members on August 15 outlining details of the meeting between the minister and then OCI president the night before.

In a separate mail, seen by the Irish Independent, Mr Henihan told committee members they had just eight hours to approve the formation of an investigation committee into the ticket affair.

Mr Henihan was told on Tuesday he was free to return to Ireland after he spoke with Rio police.

In the email sent on August 15, Mr Henihan wrote: "Pat [Hickey] met last night with Minister Shane Ross and informed him under legal advice that because Mr Mallon was still under arrest in Brazil it would not be appropriate to make any further statements as this could potentially prejudice the outcome of the Brazilian judicial process.

"Pat followed this meeting up this morning with a letter to the Minister also asking him to refrain from using phrases such as 'black market' and 'ticket touts' publicly as Mr Mallon is entitled to due process and the presumption of innocence."

Mr Henihan went on to tell OCI members that Mr Hickey also wrote a letter to the Sports Minister informing him that there would need to be a "legal basis" for calling the OCI before a Government committee. Previously, Rio police released an email sent by OCI solicitor Barry McCarthy to Mr Hickey ahead of the meeting with Mr Ross. The email said: "In general, Shane Ross needs 'to be put back in his box'."

A second mail, released for the first time today, reveals that Mr Henihan wrote to committee members Patrick Hickey, William O'Brien, Kevin Kilty, John Delaney, Billy Kennedy, Tom Rafter, Robert Norwood, Catherine Cogan, Sonia O'Sullivan, Ciaran O Cathain, Darren O'Neill and Sarah Keane on August 11, seeking their immediate formal approval for the creation of an investigation committee.

Mr Henihan wrote: "The issue . . . of the discovery by local authorities in Rio of a number of tickets designated to the OCI has come as a total surprise to us.

"While investigations are continuing to establish exactly what occurred we believe, in light of the urgent need to established [sic] what happened, that a formal Investigation Committee of William O'Brien, Dermot Henihan and Barry McCarthy needs to be set up immediately to fully investigate all aspects surrounding the affair and in particular the role of our ticketing agent PRO10."

Mr Henihan asked the 12 committee members to respond within eight hours confirming their approval for the appointment of the investigation committee.

A spokesperson for the OCI told the Irish Independent: "On August 11 the OCI executive committee did agree to the formation of a three-person team to investigate the circumstances surrounding the handling of tickets by PRO10 for the Rio Olympics. The mandate of this group was quickly overtaken by developments in Rio with the arrest of Patrick Hickey and the questioning of OCI officials by Brazilian authorities."

Irish Independent

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