The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross T.D., has approved 2017 grant funding to the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI). The funding support of €300,000 had been withheld pending the outcome of the Moran Inquiry and the OCI implementing its reform agenda. The Board of Sport Ireland, through whom the payment is made, is satisfied that funds have been spent on athlete related activities and are in order for reimbursement at this time.
The Minister has maintained contact with the OCI President Sarah Keane and other OCI Executive Committee members, most recently on Monday of this week, when he received a presentation on the progress of reform as well as the OCI and OCI Athlete Commission’s Strategic Plans. The OCI briefed the Minister on the ticketing arrangements for the 2018 Winter Olympics – which will emphasise the athletes and their friends and families – as well as the OCI’s plans for ticketing at the Summer Games in 2020 and beyond.
Minister Ross said “We are now in a position to fully restore Government funding to the Olympic Council of Ireland. In taking the decision to release 2016 funding in September, I made it clear that full restoration would only be achieved if the OCI continue progress on its corporate governance reform agenda and addressed the legacy issues arising from the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. I am satisfied all twenty five recommendations in the Deloitte report have now been addressed. Additionally, the conclusion of the OCI’s commercial relationship with the THG company draws a line under the unacceptable ticketing arrangements detailed in Judge Moran’s report. There has been a complete transformation in the openness, transparency and accountability of the OCI when compared to the situation before the Rio Games.
“In regard to funding for 2018 and beyond, it will of course be necessary for the OCI to maintain its commitment to the highest governance standards, and in particular that the membership of the Executive Committee of the OCI will comprise people of impeccable integrity.
“Throughout this difficult period, I have sought to ensure that the preparation of athletes for the games next year and in 2020 should not be adversely affected by the withholding of state funding to the OCI. The OCI strategic plan for 2018-2024 is centred on an unambiguous commitment to put athletes first, as it should be. The OCI – supported by the excellent work of its Athletes Commission - is now in a strong position, I believe, to guide the continued development of our Olympic athletes as well as nurturing our future Olympians.”
Minister of State for Sport and Tourism, Brendan Griffin T.D. said “I am delighted that sufficient progress has been made to enable the restoration of funding to the Olympic Council of Ireland. I would like to pay tribute to the OCI President Sarah Keane and all the members of the Executive Committee for their tireless commitment to implementing the necessary governance reforms. I know that it has not been easy, but the OCI is now a much more open and transparent organisation, better suited to its vital function at the heart of Irish sport. I am confident that the reformed OCI will support our Olympic athletes to achieve and exceed their potential at Tokyo in 2020.”