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Tuesday 20 August 2019

Good to be home, says smiling Hickey as he asks for privacy

The race is on to replace Pat Hickey as Olympic Council of Ireland president. Photo: Colin Keegan
The race is on to replace Pat Hickey as Olympic Council of Ireland president. Photo: Colin Keegan
Robin Schiller

Robin Schiller

Former Olympic Council of Ireland president Pat Hickey has returned to his home in west Dublin for the first time since being arrested for alleged ticket touting offences.

The 71-year-old said he returned home to Dublin from London on Sunday night at 11.30pm, having travelled to the English capital from Brazil days previously.

As he posed for pictures and spoke to journalists, a cheerful Hickey seemed a world away from the criminal investigation ongoing against him by Brazilian authorities.

Privacy

"I want to wish you all a happy Christmas and it's good to be home," he told members of the press outside his home in Castleknock, west Dublin, shortly after 1pm yesterday afternoon.

"It's good to be home with my family.

"I would now like you to respect my privacy," he said, as he gave a thumbs-up to a neighbour passing by down the road.

Pat Hickey also said he didn't expect reporters and photographers to "be working that late" after being asked when he had returned to Ireland.

"I didn't think you would be working that late.

"I came home on the Ryanair flight from London, which landed in Dublin at 11.30pm," he said.

During the brief appearance outside his home, Mr Hickey did not discuss the ongoing case against him or his time in the notorious Bangu prison complex in Rio.

The former OCI chief then returned to his home and did not emerge for the rest of the day.

He had previously issued a statement describing the past few months as "traumatic" and insisted he would clear his name.

"It has been an extremely traumatic few months for myself and my family," he said in the statement.

"Once again, I wish to state that I am totally innocent of all charges against me.

"I will do everything possible to clear my name so that I can, in due course, get on with my life with my wife and family," he added. Mr Hickey said he was "delighted" to be home and able to spend Christmas with his family.

"I intend to adhere to any requests made by the Brazilian authorities and I will do everything possible to clear my name so that I can, in due course, get on with my life with my wife and family," he added.

The former sports administrator also acknowledged the help he received from the International Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC).

That organisation put up the €410,000 he was ordered to pay in bail, for the return of his passport.

Mr Hickey was arrested at dawn in his hotel in Rio de Janeiro on August 17 during the Olympic Games, on allegations including ticket touting, ambush marketing, and money laundering.

Mr Hickey will not be in the running when the OCI appoints its new president in February.

Irish Independent

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