Ticket touting inquiry could go back to 2012

Sports Minister Shane Ross at Dublin Airport Picture: Collins

Robin Schiller

Sports Minister Shane Ross has said that an independent inquiry into the ticket touting scandal could go back as far as London 2012.

As he returned home from Rio de Janeiro last night, Mr Ross defended his handling of the ticket controversy, saying: "I have been very active on this from the very moment it broke and I have been meeting with relevant stakeholders on it ever since then."

He said that complaints from opposition TDs were just "what they do".

"I can understand their impatience, it is August, they have to find something to talk about and criticise. I'm sure if I was in opposition I would be saying the same thing.

"But we've been working day and night on this ever since it happened," Mr Ross said.

When asked if he thought the inquiry should stretch back as far as the 2012 Olympics in London, Mr Ross said "nothing is out of bounds".

"I really don't think I should say that at the moment because we haven't determined the terms of reference.

Out of Bounds

"But nothing I suppose should be out of bounds at all provided it doesn't do any damage to the proceedings in Brazil," he said.

The minister admitted that events surrounding Pat Hickey's arrest have overshadowed the achievements of Irish athletes at the Olympics, including some who have had what he described as "the performances of a lifetime".

Emails revealed by the Brazilian police showed that a senior barrister advised Mr Hickey to put the minister "back in his box".

However, Mr Ross tried to laugh off the phrase, saying: "They wouldn't be the only people who have done that. It is strange legal advice. They would be in very good company."

Mr Ross also made an embarrassing gaffe when referring to an Irish Olympian.

Thomas Barr (24) narrowly missed out on a bronze medal after finishing fourth in the 400m hurdle event.

However, when speaking to reporters Mr Ross referred to the athlete as "Thomas Barry".