A senior Government minister has urged FAI chief executive John Delaney to “live up to the spirit” of the Olympic Council of Ireland’s position that it will co-operate fully with any Olympics ticket inquiry.
Agriculture Minister Michael Creed said “there is an obligation on anybody” named by Brazilian police to help the Government’s non-statutory inquiry if they are requested to attend.
Asked specifically about the FAI chief executive and OCI vice-president on RTÉ’s Drivetime programme and whether it is time for him “to speak out”, Mr Creed said the investigation “would like to hear from all parties, including Mr Delaney”.
He added that, as the OCI already said it will comply with the non-statutory inquiry, the football official “has to live up to the spirit of that OCI commitment”.
Mr Creed had earlier told the Irish Examiner that it is time for the Government to “lance the boil” in relation to the oversight of public OCI funding, as the current controversy is not the first time officials have clashed with the sporting body.
“This isn’t the first time we’ve been in this space [clashing with the OCI] and I think it is time that we lanced this boil effectively,” he said. “There are public funds involved.
“There is reputational damage at stake and we need to make sure that whatever way we deal with this, that we do not have a replication of it at further international events, be they Olympics or whatever.”
Mr Creed said he has yet to talk to Cabinet colleagues about the fall-out in the wake of Mr Hickey’s arrest.
However, he welcomed the OCI’s commitment to co-operate with the Government’s non-statutory inquiry.
“Initially, the OCI would not accept an independent voice within their own committee but this is such a fast-moving thing they appear now to have abandoned their own efforts to conduct an internal inquiry,” he said.
“We have to take at face value what the OCI is saying about co-operating with an inquiry and I’ll believe that when I see it... But if we get co-operation from all the interested parties, that should be sufficient.”
He declined to comment when asked about the Brazilian authorities’ decision on Sunday to take the passports of other OCI officials who are currently in Brazil.
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