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Sunday 26 March 2017

Swim Ireland chief Keane succeeds Hickey as head of OCI

Candidates Willie O’Brien, Sarah Keane and Bernard O’Byrne
Candidates Willie O’Brien, Sarah Keane and Bernard O’Byrne

Swim Ireland CEO Sarah Keane has been appointed the Olympic Council of Ireland's (OCI) new president at an extraordinary general meeting of the organisation.

Delegates from 36 sporting federations met last night in the Conrad Hotel in Dublin to elect Mr Hickey's successor, the first new OCI president in 28 years.

Ms Keane (43) secured 29 votes while Willie O'Brien got 12 and head of Basket- ball Ireland Bernard O'Byrne (67) received two.

"I just want to say thank you to everyone and that I am here to serve," Ms Keane said after the vote.

Meanwhile, it emerged that the fallout from Mr Hickey's arrest in Rio on suspicion of being involved in ticket touting has cost the OCI €628,000 to date.

Controversy

The EGM was told by Treasurer Billy Kennedy that law firm Arthur Cox had been paid €394,000 for legal advice in the wake of the controversy over his arrest.

Consultants Grant Thornton have been paid €214,900, while a report on corporate governance from Deloitte cost €18,500.

Public relations costs from the OCI's use of The Communications Clinic amounted to €69,500.

Mr Kennedy said the PR costs had been paid by the OCI's insurers, AIG.

Earlier, honorary general secretary Dermot Henihan paid tribute to Mr Hickey .

"When Pat started out they were working off the kitchen table and going to members' houses for meetings. It was not until 1993 that the OCI in any way settled," he said. "We now have a beautiful HQ and a staff of four and a number of really good people who work hard for the Olympic movement in Ireland.

Mr Henihan went on to thank Mr Hickey for his "time, commitment and energy". He said he had been advised he could not say much about his arrest.

"I have no doubt Pat Hickey will clear his name and have the charges dismissed," he added.

Mr O'Byrne expressed his disappointment at not being elected.

"The OCI has been calling out for change for years, and I am disappointed that I will not be involved in that change as we move towards Tokyo 2020," he said.

"I would like to wish Sarah Keane all the best in the new role."

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