Bernard O'Byrne: The lack of public support for Pat Hickey does not surprise me

The Basketball Ireland CEO was speaking to The Pat Kenny Show

BY Daniel Kelly 11:40 Monday 22 August 2016, 11:40 22 Aug 2016

Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Cathal Noonan

OCI President Pat Hickey remains in prison in Rio de Janeiro, after being arrested by Brazilian police last week.

Basketball Ireland CEO Bernard O'Byrne has regularly dealt with Mr. Hickey in his current role, and also when he served in a similar position with the FAI.  He told The Pat Kenny Show that the lack of public support for the judoka did not come as a shock.

"There's a lot of people over the last 25 or 30 years have suffered the verbal or metaphorical swords that Pat Hickey wielded from time to time. It doesn't surprise me that there is not a queue forming."

"He's a dogmatic, arrogant man. He's a doer. He gets things done... His rise has been very substantial, and probably one of the most successful Irish sports administrators ever. That doesn't make him a warm person or a liked person."

If the accusations against the 71-year-old are proven to be false, O'Byrne can forsee the OCI President return to his position.

"I wouldn't put it past Pat Hickey to come back into his positions and say 'I was seriously wronged here. I'm a victim in all of this'... In a case where he is completely vindicated and found innocent, I could see Pat Hickey coming back."

Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

"I wouldn't say it's in his demeanour to just walk off into the sunset, if he's found innocent."

O'Byrne thinks that the news of the past week has caused "some damage" to Ireland's reputation, despite the heroics which saw the country win two silver medals, and saw a number of other outstanding performances across a number of sports.

The Basketball Ireland CEO also told The Pat Kenny Show that he feels what has happened in Brazil, will not have a long-lasting effect on the Olympic Council of Ireland.

"If it turns out that wrongdoing has happened, I think people are intelligent enough to realise that what actually happened was that one or more individuals went rouge. It wasn't that the Olympic Council of Ireland sat down one night and decided to get involved in ticket touting."

"If this does go down and people are found guilty and there is some kind of clearout, that can be good for our reputation... Every now and again, both in society, and in politics and in sport there is one of these clearouts. Often it's for the best."

As Mr. Hickey prepares to spend another night in Bangu Prison, O'Byrne feels his thoughts will not be on his public perception in Ireland. 

"He wouldn't be worried whether people are lining up to have pity on him or to feel sorry for him. That's the type of individual that I found him to be."


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