Latest: OCI was run like 'personal fiefdom', says Cork TD

Update 6.23pm: Oireachtas sports committee member Mick Barry TD today accused Pat Hickey of running the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) like a "personal fiefdom".

He told Drivetime on RTÉ Radio 1 that Judge Carroll Moran's report shows that the OCI was ran in an autocratic way.

"In my opinion the OCI was being run in a very autocratic way, in some way like a personal fiefdom," he said.

"And I think that that has to change and change radically."

The Solidarity Party TD also said questions need to be answered over the deal made with THG to be the authorised ticket agent for upcoming Olympic games.

Update 1.04pm: The Oireachtas committee meeting about the Rio ticket touting inquiry has been suspended because one of the clerks has taken ill.

The committee has said it will make a decision at 2pm on whether to continue today.

Update 11.57am: Transport and Sports Minister Shane Ross has said the Rio ticket touting inquiry has revealed an “unknown rotten culture” at the heart of the Olympic Council of Ireland, writes Juno McEnroe of the Irish Examiner.

The report which criticised the “chaotic” handling of tickets and raised concern about records of ticket exchanges with agents this week resulted in the OCI apologising to athletes and families.

It followed the arrests of former OCI president Pat Hickey and others at the Rio games last year, events which prompted Minister Ross to launch the non-statutory inquiry.

He told an Oireachtas Committee this morning that Judge Carroll Moran had revealed a “hitherto unknown rotten culture at the heart of the OCI.”

He added: “He has shined a light on these matters. He has highlighted shameful standards of corporate governance under Mr Hickey's presidency and a triumph of commerce over competitors.”

Mr Ross this morning outlined the series of events leading up the arrests in Rio as well as the follow up actions as he defended the decision to hold an non-statutory inquiry.

He described how agents THG, who handled OCI tickets for the London 2012 games, were banned by Brazil last year but Pro10 was set up as a new front for the group.

“The OCI went to great lengths to secure high-value tickets for resale by these companies,” committee members were told.

But he highlighted how the report showed "multiple failings" by Pro10 and stressed that “sham companies do not deliver”.

Minister Ross, who had tried to ask Mr Hickey questions when he had travelled to Brazil originally, said the former OCI president “operated almost entirely without oversight”.

“The board [of the OCI] was little more than a rubber stamp on decisions taken by the president.”

The minister has also questioned voluntary amounts paid by the OCI to Mr Hickey as gestures or “honorarium” payments as he was the president of the OCI.

Payments of €60,000 a year were “far in excess of what might reasonably be considered an honorarium,” said Mr Ross.

The committee meeting today will also hear from the current OCI president Sarah Keane as well as Sports Ireland. Mr Hickey has declined to contribute to the Moran report or committee meetings.

Update 9.12am: An Oireachtas sports committee will tackle the Moran report into the Olympic ticketing scandal later.

It is yet to be seen if politicians will take action over the inquiry which found that commercial interests were put ahead of athletes.

Former OCI President Pat Hickey has refused to co-operate with the report and is not expected to turn up today.

However, Fianna Fáil's Robert Troy says he should be involved.

He said: "If he doesn't want to deal with the element that is currently under investigation in Rio, he can certainly come forward and deal with the manner in which he ran the OCI since his appointment in 1995 as president of that organisation."

Earlier: There is concern today that Pat Hickey could return to the board of the Olympic Council of Ireland.

The former OCI President says he will resume his executive role on the International Olympic Committee "in due course".

However, The Times suggests that would automatically make him an 'ex officio' member of the OCI board, meaning he could return without voting rights.

Mr Hickey's alleged role in a ticketing scandal at the Rio Games will be discussed by an Oireachtas committee today.

Senator John O'Mahony has criticised his lack of involvement with a recent inquiry.

The Senator said: "It is disappointing that five of the six stakeholders that stated in advance of the hearings that they would fully co-operate, didn't in fact co-operate.

"This restricted, if you like, the findings of the report and their ability to make recommendations."


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