Friday 28 October 2016

Hickey's worried family want Taoiseach to take up his case

OCI president Pat Hickey has a serious heart condition Picture: INPHO
OCI president Pat Hickey has a serious heart condition Picture: INPHO

Foreign Affairs Minister Pat Flanagan is to meet with the family of Pat Hickey after they appealed for "urgent" government intervention regarding his continued detention in Brazil.

Mr Flanagan said he will arrange to meet the Hickeys in the coming days, but added that the Government "cannot interfere in any way" in judicial proceedings abroad.

The Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) president, who has stepped down temporarily from his position, has been held in Rio de Janeiro's notorious Bangu prison since August 19.


He was arrested as part of an investigation into ticket touting but has not been formally charged.

In a statement, Mr Hickey's family said they are "gravely concerned" about his detention and arrest.

They also requested a meeting with Taoiseach Enda Kenny when he returns from his holiday.

A spokesman for Mr Kenny said he had no comment on the family's statement, beyond pointing out that Mr Hickey "is receiving consular assistance as necessary".

The family said: "This arrest and detention occurred over seven days ago and still no charges have been brought, nor has an appropriate venue for a bail application been made available to Pat Hickey.

"The Hickey family is gravely concerned about the effect this degrading and humiliating ordeal has had on their father and grandfather and how it continues to affect his physical and mental health.

"He has a serious heart condition and they are extremely anxious that he would be immediately released on bail and given the opportunity to respond to the accusations.

"They also, as a priority, want to get him home to Ireland as they have increasing concerns about his safety.

"It was entirely inappropriate and unacceptable for a 71-year-old Irish citizen to be taken from his bedroom, arrested and walked in a state of undress before a pre-arranged camera crew, after which film and still shots were released to the global media."

The family are concerned about the manner in which Mr Hickey was arrested, his "detention in a high-security prison without charge" and "pre-trial disclosure of what is purported to be evidence to the media without any right of a reply (which is leading and imbalanced reporting)".

The statement also referred to Mr Hickey's "right to a fair hearing, given the prejudicial way in which he has been treated to date".

Meanwhile, the OCI has app- ointed auditors Grant Thornton to investigate its handling of the ticket allocation procedures for Rio.

Athletes and their families will be asked to submit their experience of ticket allocations and availability for the Games.

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