Homecoming decision not mine, says Taylor's father
PETER TAYLOR, father and coach of Olympic gold medallist Katie Taylor, has strenuously denied reports he was the main reason for a decision that there would be no homecoming celebrations for Ireland’s Olympic athletes in Dublin today.
He told The Irish Times last night that neither he nor anyone in the Taylor family had anything to do with the decision. As far as he was aware “we were out for a meal – we were not around”, when the decision not to have homecoming celebrations in Dublin was made, he said.
“I don’t know why my name is being dragged into this. It’s without substance, and those few stupid words in the paper have taken the gloss off everything Katie has achieved.”
A Sunday Times report yesterday quoted a spokesman for the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) as saying there would be no homecoming for the Olympic athletes in Dublin today as Peter Taylor did not want one. “It was Katie Taylor’s father who did not want to do it, and what is the point of having a homecoming if Katie is not going to be there,” the OCI spokesman was quoted as saying.
He added: “Peter would be very influential in the whole organisation, because of the status of Katie Taylor. There is no point in doing it if he did not want it. Mr Taylor is focusing on the Bray event.”
The OCI yesterday distanced itself from the comments, saying it was a mistake to suggest Mr Taylor had blocked a Dublin homecoming. Mr Taylor said he did not understand how anyone could say he would be responsible for stopping such celebrations, when “all week we have been commending the fans. The fans won us gold. It is disgraceful and very hurtful for both of us.”
He said that as far as he was aware there never were any plans for a bus for the Olympic athletes from the airport to Stephen’s Green today. “There was never, ever a bus going to be running,” he said. However, he and the family had been aware of plans for an open-topped bus in Bray today.
When someone speculated there might also be such a bus in Dublin, he said he hoped the two would not clash. It was “the only comment I made” about the possibility of an open-topped bus in Dublin as well, he said.
Wicklow Independent councillor Nicky Kelly, a friend of Peter Taylor’s, said the boxing coach was “totally distraught” over the OCI spokesman’s comments.