Saturday 22 October 2016

OCI awarded €360,000 to its former chief Hickey in an ex gratia 'honorarium'

Ryan Nugent

Published 22/08/2016 | 02:30

Olympics Council of Ireland President Pat Hickey. Photo: Julien Behal/PA Wire
Olympics Council of Ireland President Pat Hickey. Photo: Julien Behal/PA Wire
Former OCI president Pat Hickey is currently in prison

Former Irish Olympic chief Pat Hickey has been awarded a massive €360,000 from the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) in what the organisation calls an "honorarium award".

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Mr Hickey (71) has spent the past five days locked up in a Brazilian prison cell in connection with a police investigation into ticket touting.

He has stepped down temporarily as OCI president.

However, in recognition of his service to the OCI, Mr Hickey has been awarded €60,000 each year for the past six years.

An honorarium payment is defined as an ex gratia payment made to someone for their services in a volunteer capacity.

This payment was approved by OCI members. The first €180,000 awarded to Mr Hickey for 2010, 2011 and 2012 was due to be used as a bursary in his name, which would be used for the development of young athletes.

In 2014, the OCI said that this money had not been drawn down by Mr Hickey and that he had no intention of doing so.

When contacted twice by the Irish Independent on the issue in the past week, the OCI did not respond to the question of whether the funds had since been drawn down by Mr Hickey.

The organisation, however, did say that it had complied with Irish taxation laws.

"All outstanding obligations by the OCI in respect of Mr Hickey's honorarium have been completed in compliance with Irish Revenue regulations," a spokesman said.

It is unclear what Mr Hickey plans to do with the further €180,000 - which has been included on OCI accounts for the years 2013, 2014 and 2015.

The spokesman added that Mr Hickey has been on record saying the matter regarding the fund for athletes would be "concluded on his retirement".

Despite temporarily stepping down as OCI president, it is unclear when exactly he will retire.

FAI chief executive John Delaney is the favourite to take the reigns at the OCI after the next Olympics in Tokyo in 2020.

Mr Hickey had been due to leave Rio on a first-class flight today but looks likely to stay in Rio for much longer, with the investigation ongoing.

The flights had been paid for by the OCI, which says it is due to be reimbursed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

However, this has not been confirmed by the IOC, which did not respond to queries from the Irish Independent.

Irish Independent

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