Wednesday 18 September 2019

End your silence on tickets scandal, TDs tell FAI boss Delaney

John Delaney and Pat Hickey at the Ireland-Sweden match at Euro 2016 Photo: Stephen McCarthy / Sportsfile
John Delaney and Pat Hickey at the Ireland-Sweden match at Euro 2016 Photo: Stephen McCarthy / Sportsfile

Cormac McQuinn and Kevin Doyle

Olympic Council vice-president John Delaney should end his silence on the Rio ticketing scandal by making a statement on the controversy, TDs have said.

Mr Delaney, also the head of the FAI, has not made any public remarks on the matter since the arrest of Pat Hickey, who has temporarily stepped aside as Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) president, in Brazil more than a week ago. Hickey has not been charged with any offence.

Last night, Fine Gael TD Noel Rock said he believed a statement from Mr Delaney on the matter "would help clear the air". He said he'd like to see a statement made by Mr Delaney before the Irish football team embarks on their upcoming World Cup qualifying campaign in September.

While there are no allegations of wrongdoing against Mr Delaney, another TD, Sinn Féin's Imelda Munster, said it was "imperative" that he make a statement on the Rio controversy given his senior role in the OCI.

A member of the Oireachtas Transport, Tourism and Sport committee, Ms Munster said: "It's no time for people to remain silent given the nature of the scandal that it is and how it overshadowed the Olympics.

"I think there's an onus on him as a board member and vice-president to at the very least issue a statement."

Fellow committee member Kevin O'Keeffe of Fianna Fáil agreed that Mr Delaney should break his silence on the matter.

"It would be better if he did say something," he said.

Social Democrats joint-leader Catherine Murphy said whether or not Mr Delaney addresses the matter is a "personal decision" for him and that she wasn't calling for him to do so.

However, she noted that Mr Delaney is a "very high profile figure", that he's been tipped by Mr Hickey as a future president of the OCI, and that this "almost elevates him further".

She said she was "surprised" that he hasn't made public comments on the issue.

Asked whether he believed Mr Delaney should make a statement, Sports Minister Patrick O'Donovan said that the OCI has committed to cooperate with the investigation being led by Judge Carroll Moran.

"We would fully expect that from now anybody who has any knowledge or any interest in this investigation would fully co-operate with it. We're not of a mind to be naming individuals," Mr O'Donovan added.

Requests to the FAI and OCI for Mr Delaney to comment on the TDs' remarks were unsuccessful last night.

Mr Delaney didn't travel to Brazil for the Olympics. He attended a meeting of the OCI board on Sunday night where they discussed the events in Rio.

Mr Delaney was appointed as the OCI's second vice-president in 2014.

Meanwhile, temporary president of the OCI, Willie O'Brien, refused to comment when questioned by reporters at Dublin Airport last night at Team Ireland's homecoming.

Irish Independent

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