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December 15 2017 2:30 AM
The Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) have welcomed the decision of the Government to restore their funding, having originally had all financial assistance suspended in the wake of the Rio Olympics ticketing scandal.
Outstanding funding for 2016 was paid over to the OCI in September, and a statement last night confirmed the decision "to restore State funding to the organisation with immediate effect".
OCI president Sarah Keane, who succeeded Pat Hickey in the position earlier this year, said: "On behalf of the OCI, I wish to thank Minister Shane Ross and Minister Griffin for the decision to release 2017 funding and to restore normal funding arrangements from 2018. We can now move ahead confidently with our athlete-centred plans for 2018 and beyond.
"The decision to restore State funding is recognition of the hard work that has taken place this year at the OCI to transform its governance arrangements and the efforts made to tackle some of the other legacy issues arising from the Rio Games.
"The board and staff of the OCI will continue to pursue our reform agenda as we face into a busy year for Olympic athletes in 2018. With the Winter Games in Pyeongchang and the World Youth Games in Argentina next year, we have a very busy programme of work ahead of us to support our athletes and member federations.
"Today's decision gives us greater financial certainty following a year of enormous change and rebuilding at the OCI. Together with our Athletes' Commission we look forward to working with Sport Ireland, our member federations and other agencies of the State to implement our athlete-centred programme of work in 2018."
Ross had been insistent that he would not restore funding to the OCI until all legacy matters were addressed satisfactorily in the aftermath of the Rio controversy.
It had withheld funds from the OCI since the arrest of Hickey amid allegations of ticket touting at the Olympics in Rio surfaced.
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