Monday 19 November 2018

Minister Shane Ross announces full restoration of Government funding to Olympic Council of Ireland

Sports Minister Shane Ross set up an inquiry into the Olympics ticketing scandal in Rio
Sports Minister Shane Ross set up an inquiry into the Olympics ticketing scandal in Rio Newsdesk Newsdesk

The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross has announced that the Government is to restore its full grant support to the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI).

The grant, totalling €300,000, had been held back awaiting the outcome of the Moran Inquiry into the OCI following the Rio ticketing scandal.

However, after the 2016 funding was released in September, the Minister has now granted the full allocation for 2017.

Minister Ross said “We are now in a position to fully restore Government funding to the Olympic Council of Ireland. In taking the decision to release 2016 funding in September, I made it clear that full restoration would only be achieved if the OCI continue progress on its corporate governance reform agenda and addressed the legacy issues arising from the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

"I am satisfied all twenty five recommendations in the Deloitte report have now been addressed. Additionally, the conclusion of the OCI’s commercial relationship with the THG company draws a line under the unacceptable ticketing arrangements detailed in Judge Moran’s report. There has been a complete transformation in the openness, transparency and accountability of the OCI when compared to the situation before the Rio Games.

“In regard to funding for 2018 and beyond, it will of course be necessary for the OCI to maintain its commitment to the highest governance standards, and in particular that the membership of the Executive Committee of the OCI will comprise people of impeccable integrity.

“Throughout this difficult period, I have sought to ensure that the preparation of athletes for the games next year and in 2020 should not be adversely affected by the withholding of state funding to the OCI. The OCI strategic plan for 2018-2024 is centred on an unambiguous commitment to put athletes first, as it should be. The OCI – supported by the excellent work of its Athletes Commission - is now in a strong position, I believe, to guide the continued development of our Olympic athletes as well as nurturing our future Olympians.”

OCI President Sarah Keane welcomed the full restoration of funding.

IN a statement this afternoon she said: "On behalf of the OCI I wish to thank Minister Ross and Minister Griffin for the decision to release 2017 funding and to restore normal funding arrangements from 2018. We can now move ahead confidently with our athlete centred plans for 2018 and beyond.

"The decision to restore State funding is recognition of the hard work that has taken place this year at the OCI to transform its governance arrangements and the efforts made to tackle some of the other legacy issues arising from the Rio Games. The Board and staff of the OCI will continue to pursue our reform agenda as we face into a busy year for Olympic athletes in 2018.

"With the Winter Games in Pyeongchang and the World Youth Games in Argentina next year we have a very busy programme of work ahead of us to support our athletes and member federations.

"Today’s decision gives us greater financial certainty following a year of enormous change and rebuilding at the OCI.  Together with our Athletes’ Commission we look forward to working with Sport Ireland, our Member Federations and other agencies of the State to implement our athlete centred programme of work in 2018."

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