OCI President felt abandoned by Sports Minister

OCI President felt abandoned Sports Minister
Pat Hickey. Photo: RollingNews.ie

Pat Hickey maintains he is “totally innocent of all these charges” on Newstalk Breakfast Radio

Former Olympic Council of Ireland President Pat Hickey has accused Irish Minister for Sport Shane Ross of abandoning him after he was arrested in Rio de Janeiro last year.

The 72-year-old said Mr Ross had shown a lack of “humanity” and that he had “scarpered” instead of taking care of a fellow citizen.

Speaking to Newstalk Breakfast, Mr Hickey said that the whole ordeal – which saw him spend five months in Brazil after his arrest on 17 August – had taking a heavy toll on him and his family.

He is now back in Ireland on bail and still awaiting a court date in Rio to face various charges for what has been termed ambush marketing, theft, tax evasion, money-laundering and criminal association.

He said: “This has left a devastating effect on my family – on my wife, on my children, devastating.

“It’s affected my own health. As a result of all this stress, I now have a heart problem, and I have had two medical procedures.

“There’s not a doubt about it that I was absolutely humiliated and treated in a disgraceful manner on my arrest. Everyone in the world saw, the media were at the door.”

He added he was “totally innocent of all these charges” and that this would be proved as such.

Mr Hickey explained that his legal team had been solely left to deal with his situation in the absence of Mr Ross.
“In the short term he was in office, I’ve always had a good relationship with him as a Minister of Sport,” he said.

“I do note, and I checked this with my colleagues in the OCI, he never made any enquiries into my condition.

“I would have thought that a Minister of Sport – and I’m one of the highest office holders of sport in Ireland – that he would have taken due care and attention to look after a fellow citizen and a fellow human, and to show some humanity.

“But, as I said, he scarpered back home, and I was left to my own devices with my legal team to set me free.”

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