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Thursday 26 April 2018

Olympic inquiry to reopen to probe ticket contract

Pat Hickey. Photo: Mark Condren
Pat Hickey. Photo: Mark Condren

Philip Ryan and Kevin Doyle

The retired judge who probed the Olympic ticketing fiasco is to be asked to reopen his inquiry in order to examine contracts with the company at the centre of the row which stretch until 2026.

In the wake of the publication of Judge Carroll Moran's report it emerged that former Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) president Pat Hickey agreed that hospitality firm THG would be the body's official ticket agent for the next 10 years.

The deal was not passed by the OCI's executive committee, which is currently getting legal advice on whether it can be declared void.

Now, the Oireachtas Sports Committee has decided the issue warrants further investigation. Mr Hickey has refused to appear before TDs and senators - but they will write to Transport Minister Shane Ross to ask for a new module in the Moran Inquiry.

A private meeting of the committee has decided not to compel Mr Hickey to appear before them. A source said that while they want to hear from the ex-president, they do not want to do anything that could interfere with legal proceedings in Brazil. Mr Hickey is facing a series of charges including ticket touting.

The committee is to write to Ireland's ambassador in Brazil asking that he seeks an update on the progress of the Dubliner's case.

The Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE) is also to be asked to review the Moran Report, which was published earlier this month. It is understood the committee has concerns about the €60,000 a year honorarium paid by the OCI to Mr Hickey and would like the ODCE's view.

The Dáil's Public Accounts Committee will also be asked to investigate issues surrounding how taxpayers' money is paid to the OCI from Sport Ireland.

Sports Committee chairman Fergus O'Dowd told the Irish Independent he wants the OCI to reinvent itself after a year of controversy.

"We've had three days of meetings in the past few weeks. I think we've made a lot of progress. Changes are happening in the OCI and it is moving forward.

"We have to get the full backing of the country for our athletes and the OCI needs to get corporate sponsors behind it."

During a recent meeting of the committee officials, the OCI revealed it no longer has any sponsors.

State funding has also been suspended while the events around the Rio Games are investigated.

The OCI is expected to be brought back before the committee in the coming weeks.

Irish Independent

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