“Judge Moran has exposed the stress and frustration caused to athletes, their families and their friends by the OCI’s appointment of a ticketing agent that was nothing other than a charade and totally unfit for purpose…
…He [Justice Moran] was not in pursuit of criminality, merely a narrative of events, however unpalatable….
Nothing in this report suggests that individuals in the OCI were benefiting personally from these arrangements.
But clearly commercial interests can never again be afforded priority over the interests of athletes, their friends and families, and ordinary spectators.I regret that the OCI under the leadership of Pat Hickey defined this doctrine.”
Shane Ross at the Transport, Tourism and Sport joint committee meeting this morning.
From top: Shane Ross (right) and Pat Hickey flank Olympic sailor Annalise Murphy at Rio last Summer; from left: OCI President Sarah Keane, Executive Committee Member Lochlann Walsh and Honorary Treasurer Billy Kennedy
Buswells Hotel, Dublin 2
The Olympic Council of Ireland gives a media briefing on the Judge Moran Report into the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
The IOC, along with their ticket seller Pro 10 and former president Pat Hickey, declined to take part in the inquiry.
Pro10 was appointed after another reseller, THG, was rejected by the Rio organising committee.
THG was the authorised ticket reseller for the OCI at the Olympic Games at London in 2012 and Sochi in 2014; it was intended by Marcus Evans, who owned THG, and Mr Hickey that it would be the authorised ticket reseller again at Rio 2016.
However, in May 2015, the Rio Organising Committee for the Olympic Games rejected the application of THG for this position.
The Moran Report stated that Pro10 seemed to be little more than a cover for THG – and that Pro 10 was not fit for purpose.
“It might appear that the appointment of Pro10 was to disguise the continuing involvement of Marcus Evans and THG in the sale of tickets in Ireland for the Rio Olympics,” it said.
“The invocation of the “right against self-incrimination” by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), THG, Pro10, and Mr Hickey created a major obstacle.“
Further to ongoing debates over Independent Alliance TD and Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross’ judicial appointments bill…
In today’s Irish Times, Stephen Collins writes:
Most members of the public are probably not too concerned about the proposed change in the judicial appointments system, which provides for an advisory appointments committee with a non-legal majority and a non-legal chair.
The bottom line, though, as articulated by former Supreme Court judge Catherine McGuinness, is that the removal of the Chief Justice from the chair of the committee represents “a deliberate kick in the teeth” not only to the incumbent Susan Denham but to the judiciary as a body.
For Ross and Sinn Féin the whole point of the Bill is to give the Chief Justice and her colleagues that deliberate kick in the teeth. While the system of appointing judges could certainly do with some improvement, the deliberate humiliation of a judiciary, which has broadly served the country well, is a dangerous path to go down.
Ross in his long career as a journalist and politician has engaged in one populist campaign after another. He is the nearest thing we have to an Irish Donald Trump and Fine Gael needs to think very carefully before betraying one of its core values to appease his grudge against the judiciary.
On Today with Sean O’Rourke, hosted by Cormac Ó hEadhra.
Former Attorney General and former justice minister Michael McDowell spoke to Mr Ó hEadhra about Transport Minister and Independent Alliance TD Shane Ross’s Judicial Appointments Commission Bill.
The bill will see non-legal members of a commission have the majority say on judicial appointments.
From the interview…
McDowell: “Shane Ross is driving this particular policy, it’s not a Fine Gael policy. He is driving it from a personal conviction based on an unfortunate experience he had in the courts himself.That the judiciary exercised their powers and are appointed on the basis of cronyism. That unfortunately is a gross untruth. And, secondly, it’s seemingly to create a problem that doesn’t exist. Our judiciary…”
Cormac Ó hEadhra: “Well, hang on, Shane Ross would obviously contest what you have said there…”
McDowell: “Well, sorry, all you have to do, Cormac, is look at his book, the Scroungers [sic, it’s Wasters]. And look at the venom towards the judiciary which he exhibits in it himself, and his son-in-law Nick Webb wrote this book. A whole chapter. No let me finish. A whole chapter of it is devoted to attacking the judiciary and suggesting that they operate or are appointed on the basis of cronyism. That is not true.”
Ó hEadhra: “Is it not about perception? Is he not trying to break down at the very least, the perception that some hold in this country, that when it comes or when it did come up to now anyway, to appoint the judges, some people perceived that political affiliation counted..”
McDowell: “Well, can I tell you this? I was minister for justice, I was attorney general from 1999 to 2002 and minister for justice from 2002 to 2007. And Rory Brady was the attorney general during the period that I was minister for justice. And during that period, in relation to the appointments to the superior court, I can say with absolute certainty that the great majority of the people who we appointed were people who, if they had political affiliations that were known, were not the affiliations of the two Government parties. We appointed people who, as far as I knew in the majority, were, had been in the past…”
Ó hEadhra: “Are you saying it was never a problem?”
McDowell: “No, I’m saying it has never been a significant problem and I believe that what is going on here with Shane Ross is effectively demanding a change in the way the Government approaches the appointment of judges based on a personal agenda of his which is not representative of what has happened in the past and which is not true.”
Ó hEadhra: “Ok, I’ll leave him to answer that question that you hold up against him but this bill, if you return to the bill for just one second. It’s not as if Shane Ross, or anybody else in Fine Gael either is proposing a bill that you take five or six random people off the street and ask them the considered judges, you will still have, by my understanding, three judges and the attorney general and some lawyers on this new appointment board – that’s still a significant cohort of legal expertise, is it not?”
McDowell: “There will be a minority of people on the new commission who know something about the administration of justice but the commission will be chaired by a person and it will have a majority of members who are chosen on the basis that they have nothing to do with the administration of justice. And that, I think, is entirely wrong. And the second point I want to make to you is this: that when it comes to promoting say, somebody from the High Court or the Court of Appeal to the Supreme Court, the idea of having a commission advise the Government which of the 35 or 40-odd High Court judges or 8 or 10 judges of the Court of Appeal, should be in the Supreme Court is fundamentally flawed. That is a decision for the Government of the day…”
Transport Minister Shane Ross and Amanda Brunker at a charity event at the weekend; Mr Ross at Store Street Garda Station yesterday
Further to the ongoing Bus Éireann strikes…
Minister for Transport Shane Ross being photographed wearing a feather boa with Amanda Brunker at a charity event last weekend…
And Mr Ross’s participation in the launch of roadside drug testing in Store Street Garda Station yesterday…
Ellen Coyne, in The Times Ireland edition, writes:
“The feather boa was actually put on me by someone for a few seconds, and somebody took the photograph,” Mr Ross said, even attempting to explain the snap, taken at a local sports club lip sync fundraiser, as part of his ministerial brief.
“I am also the minister for sport. I have to support local clubs and I’m going to continue to do that.”
Grand so. And would Mr Ross be speaking with the striking bus drivers waiting outside the garda station, as he promised?
“I may or may not speak to them on the way out,” he said.
Reader, he did not.
The drivers, staging a 40-minute stakeout, guarded both entrances to the garda station eagerly hoping to speak to the minister. Tempers were running so high, that at one point the gardaí were accused of harbouring Mr Ross inside.
“Jaysus,” a bemused detective sergeant said. “He’s not tip-toeing around inside there that I can see, anyway.”
And so it emerged that Mr Ross was after pulling off another one of his notorious disappearing acts. Without notice, the minister had been smuggled out of the car park of Store Street garda station in an SUV with tinted windows, leaving the furious union members and one (ahem) unhappy colour writer waiting outside in the rain.
Sports Ministrer Shane Ross launches a public consultation process on the development of a new National Sports Policy Framework with Republlc of Ireland football manager Martin O’Neill (top and pic 3) and Paralympic Paralympic Bronze medalist Ellen Keane (pic 2).
The aim of the consultation process is to give all stakeholders the opportunity to feed into the development of the new National Sports Policy which “provide a framework for sport in Ireland over the next ten years and will set the agenda for Sport Ireland”.