Thursday 22 February 2018

Athletics: Sports Council report over Coghlan court case set for publication

Cliona Foley

Cliona Foley

THE lengthy delay in publishing the Irish Sport Council's (ISC) report on their expensive High Court case with ex-Athletics Ireland chief executive Mary Coghlan looks set to finally end.

The Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport, Mary Hanafin, sought a detailed report from the ISC on how they ended up embroiled in such a costly legal case and had received it by last May.

In response to a parliamentary question back on May 19, the minister gave an undertaking to put the report up on her department's website, subject to legal advice. Yet, despite that assurance, there's still no sign of it, nearly four months later.

The minister confirmed yesterday that the delay was brought about because she had to inform Coghlan that she was going to publish it, and that Coghlan's legal team then requested a 'right to reply' first.

The Irish Independent understands that Coghlan's lengthy reply, which was submitted this week, seriously contradicts the ISC's version of events and has referred the minister to court transcripts on several key issues.


The current board of the Sports Council, who were all appointed after the court case took place, have continued to ask hard questions about how and why it occurred.

The issue was top of their agenda when they had their monthly meeting last Wednesday and it is understood that they have agreed to meet again next week.

The minister confirmed yesterday that she sent the ISC's report to Coghlan on July 27, informing the former athletics official of her intent to publish it.

On August 6, she received a reply from Coghlan's legal advisors requesting that publication be deferred until they had prepared a detailed response.

That response was received before this week's meeting of the ISC board and the minister said yesterday that she "will consider Ms Coghlan's reply before publishing the ISC report."

One way to have avoided this delay would have been for the minister to appoint an independent inquiry into the affair. But this option was not taken and the 'Mary Coghlan court case' continues to take up valuable ISC time.

The Sports Council is also now without a chairperson.

The official 'end' for outgoing chairman Ossie Kilkenny -- who served two consecutive terms -- came on September 6.

The minister is solely responsible for appointing his replacement and said yesterday that she is "presently considering the appointment of a chairman."

Irish Independent

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