Inquiry into Olympics ticket controversy will go back as far as London 2012

Retired High Court judge Carroll Moran has been appointed to lead the investigation

Inquiry into Olympics ticket controversy will go back as far as London 2012

Ministers Shane Ross and Patrick O'Donovan at a press conference in Dublin today | Image: RollingNews.ie

Former High Court judge Mr Justice Carroll Moran has been appointed to lead the non-statutory inquiry into the Olympics ticket controversy.

The investigation will extend back as far the 2012 Games, and even further if required. 

Sports Minister Shane Ross and Minister of State for Sport Patrick O’Donovan announced the probe's terms of reference at a press conference in Dublin this afternoon. 

The inquiry will look into the "policies, procedure, processes and practices" adopted by the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) in handling the "receipt, distribution and sale of tickets" allocated by the International Olympics Committee (IOC) for both Summer and Winter Olympics.

It will examine procurement processes and OCI-awarded contracts relating to the sale of tickets for the 2016 Summer Olympics, the 2014 Winter Olympic and the 2012 Summer Olympics.

Corporate governance within the OCI and state funding given to it and its predecessor, the Irish Sports Council, may also be investigated. 

The OCI reiterated today that it would comply fully with any state inquiry.

A spokesperson for the organisation said its legal advice is that there is "no impediment whatsoever" to it cooperating fully with the inquiry. 

"The OCI welcomes the appointment of Judge Carroll Moran to lead the state inquiry into the distribution of tickets at the Rio Olympics and other related matters," it said.

"The OCI also notes the inquiry’s terms of reference.

"An international accountancy firm will be appointed before the weekend by the OCI to conduct a review of the ticketing arrangements for the Rio Games.

"Earlier this week, a data security firm (Espion) was appointed by the OCI to secure, copy and seal the OCI server and all OCI electronic data. 

"All of the retrieved data will be reviewed by the soon to be appointed accountancy firm as part of its review. The findings of this review will be given to Judge Moran to be examined as part of his inquiry."  

Opposition leaders had earlier criticised Mr Ross's decision to make the inquiry non-statutory, meaning it will not be able to compel people to co-operate.

However, the minister said this afternoon that he was "absolutely satisfied" this is the correct approach. 

"It leaves open the possibility of a statutory inquiry if the judge finds that's necessary," he told reporters. 

"The opposition parties have been extremely helpful. They've made some very constructive suggestions and we've included them."

Mr Ross added that he intends to contact authorities in Brazil to clarify a request for his help in investigating alleged ticket touting.

Last night, officials in Rio said they were keen to speak to him "to check the information". 

"We're looking for clarification about that. I interpret that as meaning they want us to [give] them some knowledge of the investigation we're holding," the minister said. 

"Of course, we'd be prepared to cooperate if they make requests through the normal channels."

Under the inquiry's terms, Mr Moran will be able to consult with any person or organisation he sees fit. 

He is due to report back to Mr Ross and Mr O'Donovan within the next 12 weeks.

Mr Ross said the deadline may be extended if necessary but that he remains "very keen" to see it finished on time.