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"Sports Minister's 'Yes! No! Yes! to Sydney invitation.

September 12th, 2000:  Irish Minister of Sport, Dr. Jim McDaid has indicated that he and Sports Council chairman, John Treacy, will be going to Sydney after all, thus ending the whole sorry "on-off" saga.  The Minister had asked the O.C.I. to grant him four tickets - one for him, one for Treacy, one for the Minister's special advisor and the fourth for a ministerial department official - but the O.C.I. had given only three.  The Irish Times newspaper confirmed that the UK Ministry of Culture, Media and Sport had received only two accreditations.  The Minister had stated that he was prepared to stay at home and give his ticket to Treacy but the Olympic Council stated that if the Minister did not travel then the ministerial accreditation would fall without his presence.  The Minister described his relationship with Pat Hickey, President of the O.C.I. as "very poor."  He also that that Hickey did not want either himself or Treacy (a former Olympic silver-medallist) to go to the games because there was "bad blood" between them due to arguments over funding.  A spokesman for the OCI said that they had received only three passes and that Treacy could take one of the three passes given to the Minister.  This is what the Minister has now done.  What a pity this situation could not have been resolved without all the public washing of our dirty linen.

Athlete's court appeal on Olympics fails

September 9th, 2000:  Last night a High Court judge refused a mandatory injunction directing the Olympic Council of Ireland to include an athlete in the Irish team for the Games.  David Finnegan, a 24 year old 400m runner, claimed that he outranked Gary Ryan in the 400m and that Ryan was selected instead of him (Finnegan) for the Irish 4x400m relay squad, even though Ryan is primarily a 100/200m runner.  Finnegan claimed that he was led to believe that a good run in the National Championships would entitle him to a place in the squad.  Mr. Justice Murphy said that the court was not presented with adequate proof necssary to grant the injunction and that, therefore, it was with deep regret that he refused the appeal.  He further stated that while certain representations might have been made to Mr. Finnegan, they had been made by the Athletic Association of Ireland and not the Olympic Council of Ireland who selected the team.  The judge criticised the two bodies for the lack of proper communication with each other and with individual athletes.