OCI denies rift with Peter Taylor


Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) president Pat Hickey today denied there is a rift between the organisation and the father of Olympic gold medal-winning boxer Katie Taylor over Team Ireland’s homecoming.

Mr Hickey denied the event had turned into a shambles but admitted there were “some problems with communication” surrounding the event.

Comments published in a Sunday newspaper and attributed to an OCI spokesman suggested that the Dublin homecoming did not take place because of objections from Peter Taylor, father of Katie.

Mr Taylor took exception to the piece and told The Irish Times: “I don’t know why my name is being dragged into this.

“It is without substance, and those few stupid words in the paper have taken the gloss off everything Katie has achieved.”

An OCI spokesman said yesterday: “We have already said several times that the original decision was taken by Team Ireland and no individual was meant to be named. There was no finger-pointing at anyone.”

This morning Mr Hickey denied there was any rift with Mr Taylor adding that he is a “great personal friend”.

“He was misquoted in several papers yesterday about many things and of course the man was very angry,” Mr Hickey told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.

Mr Hickey admitted there were some problems with communication over where the homecoming would be held. He said the athletes told Irish chef de mission Sonia O’Sullivan they did not want to go anywhere directly after Dublin airport today, preferring instead to be with their families.

“What happened was Sonia consulted the boxing team man in charge Billy Walsh, and Billy Walsh indicated to her very clearly that the boxing athletes did not want to go any place after the airport except to join their family members.”

Mr Hickey said OCI officials were speaking about this rather than comments from Mr Taylor when quoted in yesterday’s papers.

He added he planned to speak to Mr Taylor when he arrives at Dublin airport today.