OCI chief Sarah Keane criticises manner of Pat Hickey’s arrest

Organisation’s ex-boss detained in Rio last year in state of undress with media present

Olympic Council of Ireland president Sarah Keane has said the fallout from her predecessor Pat Hickey's arrest in Rio over the Olympic ticketing scandal must have been "terribly traumatic time for him and his family."

Ms Keane made her remarks on the fringes of a conference in Dublin where she was speaking on a panel about ensuring good governance and building public trust in the charities sector.

Asked about Mr Hickey telling Newstalk that Minister for Sport Shane Ross had shown him no humanity after his detention in Brazil, Ms Keane referred to the manner of his high-profile dawn arrest by police, with media present, in August at his hotel room during which he was filmed in a state of undress.

"All I would say is that I don't think anyone would condone the way that happened in terms of the hotel room and 6am in the morning and what happened there. I am sure it has been a terribly traumatic time for him and his family," Ms Keane told The Irish Times at Croke Park's conference centre.


“My job is in terms of the Olympic Council now and trying to address the issues we’ve got to face and progress matters forward from our perspective.”

Not a criticism

Ms Keane, who was elected president of the council in February, said her reference to the €1.5 million the scandal has cost the OCI at its recent annual meeting was not criticism of Mr Hickey.

She presented the breakdown of costs on the fall-out from the scandal, including legal fees, “as a matter of fact as the reality of what we are dealing with and we have to deal with it,” she said.

Speaking ahead of the council’s annual meeting at the National Sports Campus last week, she described the past year for the council as “chaotic, dramatic, traumatic and extremely costly.”

Ms Keane, the Swim Ireland boss and a solicitor, stood over the release of the figures last week, including legal costs of €1.04 million to date, which left the OCI with a deficit of €826,000 for last year.

“We came out very transparently. These are the financial statements. These are the costs associated with the matter…. These are what the costs are and they are not done,” she said.

In his interview with Newstalk, Mr Hickey distanced himself from the costs from the scandal, saying that it was “done without my knowledge” by the council’s crisis management committee.

He said his legal costs in Brazil amounted to €280,000 and that there is a €1 million insurance policy, which he put in place 15 years ago, that covers this.

Simon Carswell

Simon Carswell

Simon Carswell is The Irish Times’s Public Affairs Editor and former Washington correspondent