'I think we must have an independent inquiry' - Shane Ross on Olympic ticket controversy

He will meet the Attorney-General tomorrow to seek advice

'I think we must have an independent inquiry' - Shane Ross on Olympic ticket controversy

Sports Minister Shane Ross arriving back to Dublin Airport from the Rio Olympic Games | Image: RollingNews.ie

The Sports Minister Shane Ross has all but ruled out an internal Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) into an alleged ticket touting scandal in Brazil.

Mr Ross was speaking to journalists after he returned home from Brazil.

"We'll decide tomorrow as a matter of urgency what sort of inquiry to carry out," he said.

"We've got to talk this through - we don't know today what sort of inquiry it will be."

"My preference is that it should be seen to be utterly and totally independent."

Meanwhile, former OCI President Pat Hickey remained in hospital overnight, following his arrest in Rio yesterday over the alleged controversy.

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

The OCI last night said Mr Hickey (71) is expected to remain in Samaritano Hospital with chest pains for a further 24 hours "in view of his previous cardiac history".

Mr Ross says he was "stonewalled" and "absolutely shattered" at Mr Hickey's previous refusal to appoint an independent member to the inquiry.

Asked about the possibility of an internal OCI inquiry, Mr Ross replied: "I'm assuming that is now off the table."

'A case to look at funding'

Mr Ross continued: "Irish sport has been fantastic...there have been controversies on the peripheral...but the athletes themselves have carried a really, really very strong shining torch for Irish sport."

"Irish athletes haven't let us down, what's (let us down) is the administration and other things like that."

Asked if thought the ticket scandal overshadowed the athletes in Rio, Mr Ross replied: "I think that's probably fair comment."

Speaking in relation to the OCI, he said: "I think there's a case obviously for looking at how the funding is arranged" - but he also said there will be no attempt to prevent money going to athletes at the moment.

The controversy has seen the arrest of another Irish man, Kevin Mallon, who allegedly had hundreds of tickets earmarked for team Ireland.

Speaking about the arrests, Mr Ross added: "We'll do absolutely nothing...which will prejudice what's happening in Brazil."

The OCI has denied any wrongdoing whatsoever in relation to the ticket touting scandal.