"It's not as easy to be Action Man" - Alan Kelly on Shane Ross's handling of Rio

Mr Kelly says there is some irony to Minister Ross's situation

"It's not as easy to be Action Man" - Alan Kelly on Shane Ross's handling of Rio

Alan Kelly (centre) with Labour party members outside Clerys on O'Connell Street in Dublin | Image: RollingNews.ie

The vice chairman of the Dáil's Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Alan Kelly says what has happened in Rio in recent days in "incredible stuff."

Sports Minister Shane Ross is to meet with the Attorney-General tomorrow to discuss the ticketing scandal, and is en-route back to Ireland from Brazil.

The former head of Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) Pat Hickey remained in hospital overnight, following his arrest in Rio yesterday over the alleged ticket touting controversy.

The president of the OCI said he will step down temporarily following the arrest.

Mr Kelly told Newstalk Lunchtime: "Irish citizens have been arrested - we have to ensure that they have a fair, due process."

"But in saying that, what's going on obviously isn't acceptable - and there's something going on here which needs to be looked into."

He says the Irish Sports Council, who is responsible for the funding of the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI), should be tasked with looking at the situation.

The OCI has put together a team to investigate the allegations internally, but refused a previous request from Sports Minister Shane Ross to appoint an independent person on the team.

Mr Kelly said this refusal was "unfortunate".

"Olympic Council of Ireland must comply"

"The Sports Council of Ireland under their legislation - under section 8 of the Act of 1999 - they have the power to look into this, they have the power to request whatever information they want, they have the power to request whatever assistance they want from anybody, including the Olympic Council of Ireland."

"In doing so, under the legislation the Olympic Council of Ireland must comply."

He also suggested that a refund of €520,000 given to the OCI is a possibility under existing legislation.

"Everything's on the table, this is unprecedented circumferences...If taxpayer's money isn't being spent appropriately, we have to deal with that."

But Mr Kelly also hit out at Minister Ross for his handling of the situation so far.

"I think Minister Ross is finally finding out what it's like to be in Government...he's the person who's always on about probity, or always on about public spending - he's now finding as minister it's not as easy to be Action Man."

"He failed to respond immediately, then he started tweeting."

Mr Kelly also suggested: "It is very ironic in his previous role as a backbench TD and as a columnist he would have been shouting for everyone's head here."