Pat Hickey’s family ‘reassured’ of Government support

Irish Olympic official’s son meets Minister for Foreign Affairs to discuss Rio arrest

Pat Hickey’s son Fred following a meeting with Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan in Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Pat Hickey’s son Fred following a meeting with Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan in Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

 

Pat Hickey’s family have said they were “reassured” the Government was doing everything in its power to provide consular support to the senior Olympic official.

Mr Hickey’s son Fred and the family’s solicitor met Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan and a number of officials at Iveagh House in Dublin for an hour on Wednesday afternoon.

In a brief statement after the meeting, solicitor Anne Marie James said on behalf of the family: “Firstly, we would like to thank Minister Charlie Flanagan TD for meeting the Hickey family today.

“ The family has been reassured that the Minister and the Department of Foreign Affairs are doing everything in their power to provide all necessary consular support to Mr Hickey at this time.”

The statement, issued through a Dublin public relations firm, also asked the media to respect the family’s privacy “at this difficult time.”

Mr Hickey, who has temporarily stepped aside as president of the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) , left prison in Rio on Tuesday after a Brazilian appeal court judge ordered his release from custody.

Despite his release from jail he remains under investigation for his role in an alleged ticket touting operation that saw OCI tickets for the Olympic Games passed to British sports hospitality company THG, which was not authorised to sell tickets for the event.

As a condition of his release authorities remain in possession of his passport to prevent him leaving Brazil. Mr Hickey and THG deny any wrongdoing.

The Rio court which had authorised Mr Hickey’s arrest declared him a flight risk as justification for holding him on remand.

Speaking before the meeting, Mr Flanagan said Mr Hickey was receiving consular assistance, having requested it after his arrest.

“Like any other Irish citizen, the matter of his welfare, his health, is one of fundamental importance to me as Minister for Foreign Affairs, where one of my fundamental duties is the protection of the welfare of Irish citizens abroad,” Mr Flanagan said.

“I and my officials have been closely monitoring this case. A number of very serious allegations have been made against an Irish citizen. I want to make it quite clear that there are no circumstances under which I or any of my officials would interfere in the judicial process of any country.

“That must be clearly separated, however, from an anxiety on my part to ensure that all citizens are treated equally and that the rule of law obtains.”

The Department of Foreign Affairs had earlier refused to confirm the day, time or venue of the meeting with Mr Hickey’s family.

A spokesman afterwards declined to provide any information on the meeting.

*This article was amended on September 1st 2016