Oireachtas sport committee to consider compelling Hickey to attend

Committee was informed it does not currently have compellability powers

 Pat Hickey: he has declined an invitation  by the Oireachtas Committee on Sport  to appear before it,  citing ongoing legal proceedings in Brazil

Pat Hickey: he has declined an invitation by the Oireachtas Committee on Sport to appear before it, citing ongoing legal proceedings in Brazil

 

The Oireachtas Committee on Sport is to consider compelling former Olympic Council of Ireland president Pat Hickey to appear before it.

The members met in private with their legal advisers on Thursday to discuss if it can force Mr Hickey to give evidence. He has declined an invitation by the committee, citing ongoing legal proceedings in Brazil.

Mr Hickey was arrested and charged with alleged ticket touting and other offences a year ago. The events prompted his resignation as Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) president after 27 years.

The Oireachtas committee was informed it does not currently have compellability powers, but could seek a change in standing orders from the Dáil and Seanad.

Members will on Friday assess if they wish to go down this route at a meeting, but it is unlikely.

The legal advisers have stated they will require clearance from the Committee on Procedures and the Ceann Comhairle before seeking compellability, and will also have to give Mr Hickey 10 days’ notice.

The legal team, however, did not accept Mr Hickey’s statement that the contents of an Oireachtas hearing was a denial of his right to a fair trial in Brazil.

Members are also examining making a request to Minister for Sport Shane Ross to seek a formal examination by Mr Justice Carroll Moran of the current deal between sports hospitality firm THG and the OCI.

The committee did agree to reply to correspondence sent to it by Mr Hickey’s legal team. His solicitors Giles Kennedy had asked the members to stop their hearings, claiming it was a breach of Mr Hickey’s rights.

However, chairman Fergus O’Dowd has outlined their determination to fulfil its parliamentary mandate to consider the report.

He said: “The meeting of the committee taking place is not an inquiry. It is the view of the committee that assertions by Mr Hickey’s legal representatives that the committee’s deliberations are wrong in law and seriously undermine their client’s rights are without foundation.”