Olympic Council of Ireland

Olympic Council of Ireland

Olympic Council of Ireland logo

Olympic Council of Ireland logo
Country/Region  Ireland
Code IRL
Created April/May 1920[1]
Recognized 3 June 1922[2]
Headquarters Dublin, Ireland
President Willie O'Brien
Secretary General Dermot Henihan
Website www.olympicsport.ie
Team Ireland logo

The Olympic Council of Ireland or OCI (Irish: Comhairle Oilimpeach na hÉireann[3]) (called the Irish Olympic Council until 1952[4]) is the National Olympic Committee (NOC) of the Republic of Ireland, although athletes from Northern Ireland may also participate in it, as well as in the Great Britain and Northern Ireland Olympic team. Its mission statement is "To manage and enhance the performance of Team Ireland at Olympic Games whilst developing the Olympic Movement in Ireland."[5]


The Irish Olympic Council was founded in 1920, while the Irish War of Independence was pitting the Irish Republic proclaimed by Sinn Féin against the Dublin Castle administration of the United Kingdom. John J. Keane, who was the head of the athletics committee of the Gaelic Athletic Association, met Sinn Féin leaders Arthur Griffith and Michael Collins in Vaughan's Hotel, Parnell Square, in April to discuss the possibility of a separate Irish team at the 1920 Olympics in Antwerp.[1] The founding Council members were mostly Irish republican or nationalist political leaders.[1] Keane wrote to the Baron de Coubertin, who was sympathetic, but the Belgian organising committee deferred to the British Olympic Association (BOA), which took the unionist view that Irish competitors should be part of the British team.[1] By August, Keane was proposing that a separate Irish delegation should march under the Union Jack, on the model of Finland at the 1912 Summer Olympics when part of the Russian Empire.[1][2] The International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided to "suspend all decision until the moment when the Irish question would be solved politically".[1][2] Keane applied again in April 1922, during the provisional administration that was preparing for the formal establishment of the Irish Free State that December.[6] De Coubertin was worried that the Tailteann Games were intended to rival the Olympics, and the BOA's delegate was unsure of the political outlook in the buildup to the Irish Civil War.[6] Keane allayed these worries such that the Irish Olympic Council was affiliated to the IOC on 3 June 1922.[2][6]

Most sports affiliated to the Council are all-island in scope. Two exceptions in 1922 were athletics and cycling, each of which had rival bodies; the prospect of Olympic competition precipitated their merging into a unified National Athletic and Cycling Association (NACA), which affiliated to the Council in 1924.[7] The Council has sent a team to all but one of the Summer Olympic Games since 1924. The 1936 Games were boycotted; this was the first Games after the IAAF's 1934 ruling on borders which restricted the NACA's jurisdiction to the Free State.[8] In 1952, the Council changed its own name from "Irish Olympic Council" to "Olympic Council of Ireland" to reinforce its claim to represent the whole island of Ireland rather than merely the Republic.[4] Its team competed as "Eire" in 1948 and "Republic of Ireland" in 1952 before reverting to its preferred name "Ireland" in 1956 after Lord Killanin secured the agreement of Avery Brundage.[4] The OCI and BOA have an agreement that Northern Irish sportspeople may compete for either team.[9]

The OCI has sent teams to most Winter Olympic Games since 1992.

2016 ticket controvery

On 5 August 2016, the day of the 2016 Summer Olympics opening ceremony, police in Rio de Janeiro arrested two people for attempted illegal resale of hundreds of tickets allocated to the OCI. One of the two was employed by THG Sports, which was the OCI's authorised ticket reseller (ATR) in 2012 but not 2016; the OCI denied any involvement. Shane Ross, the Irish Minister for Sport, promised a "robust inquiry".[10][11] Pro 10 Sports Management, the OCI's 2016 ATR, said the man arrested was working as their agent to distribute tickets which had been paid for legitimately.[12] On 17 August, Pat Hickey, the OCI president, was arrested in Rio in connection with the investigation.[13] The issue, together with the allocation of tickets for other Olympic events, is now being investigated by a non-statutory inquiry headed by retired High Court judge, Mr Justice Carroll Moran.[14]


The OCI has a small staff under a Chief Executive,[15] and is based at Olympic House in Howth, County Dublin.[16]


The offices of President and IOC delegate are honorary, as required by the Olympic Charter.[17]

Presidents of the OCI:[18][19]

Name Dates
John J. Keane 1922–29
General Eoin O'Duffy 1929–33
Colonel Eamon Broy 1933–50
Lord Killanin 1950–73
Patrick J. Carroll 1973–75[20]
Desmond O'Sullivan 1976–89
Pat Hickey 1989–2016[nb 1]
Willie O'Brien 2016 (acting)[nb 1]

Delegates at the IOC:[18][19]

Name Dates
John J. Keane 1922–51
Lord Killanin 1952–72 (delegate) 1972–80 (President) 1980–99 (Honorary Life Member)
Kevin O'Flanagan 1977–95
Pat Hickey 1996–

  1. 1 2 Vice-president O'Brien became acting president when Hickey stood down temporarily while embroiled in allegations of reselling of Olympic tickets.[21]

Affiliated organisations

While the Olympic Charter mandates that the area of jurisdiction of a NOC must coincide with the limits of the country in which it is established and has its headquarters,[22] it does not require this for the national federations of particular sports affiliated to the NOC.[23] Many bodies affiliated to the OCI are organised on an all-island basis, and have selected competitors from Northern Ireland for the Olympics.

The following organisations are affiliated, some of which are very small and share an address at "Sport HQ" in Park West business park:[24]

Organisation Sport(s) or discipline(s) Founded Affiliated First
at Olympics
Irish Amateur Archery Association archery >1973[25] 1976[26]
Athletics Association of Ireland athletics 1969[25][t 1] 1924[27]
Badminton Union of Ireland badminton 2000[26]
Basketball Ireland basketball 1947[25] 1948[27]
Irish Bobsleigh and Skeleton Association bobsleigh, skeleton 1992 (bobsleigh[28]);
2002 (skeleton[28])
Irish Amateur Boxing Association boxing (amateur) 1924[25] 1924[27]
Irish Canoe Union canoeing
(kayaking, Canadian canoe)
1964[25] 1972[27] (kayak[26]);
1992 (Canadian[29])
Irish Clay Pigeon Shooting Association shooting[t 2]
1966[25] 1968[27]
Irish Curling Association curling
Cycling Ireland cycle racing
(road, track, MTB)
1966[25][t 3] 1928[27] (road,[33] track[33]);
1996 (MTB[33])
Horse Sport Ireland equestrianism
(showjumping, dressage, eventing)
1950[25] 1948[27] (show jumping[34]);
1952 (eventing[34]);
1988 (dressage[34])
Irish Fencing Federation fencing 1946[25] 1948[27]
Football Association of Ireland football (soccer) 1970[25] 1924[27]
Golfing Union of Ireland (GUI) golf (men's)[t 2][t 4] 2016
Irish Ladies' Golf Union (ILGU) golf (women's)[t 2][t 4] 2016
Irish Gymnastics Ltd. gymnastics >1973[25] 1996[26]
Olympic Handball Association team handball >1973[25]
Irish Hockey Association field hockey 1949[25] 2016
Irish Ice Hockey Association ice hockey
Ice Skating Association of Ireland ice skating (figure skating, speed skating)
Irish Judo Association judo 1963[25] 1964[27]
Modern Pentathlon Association of Ireland modern pentathlon 1980[26]
Paralympics Ireland Paralympic Games 1987[36] 1988[t 5][36]
Rowing Ireland rowing 1948[25] 1948[27]
Irish Rugby Football Union rugby sevens NA
Irish Sailing Association sailing 1947[25] 1948[27]
Snowsports Association of Ireland snowboarding, skiing
(alpine skiing, nordic skiing)
1998 (alpine[28]);
2002 (nordic[28]);
2014 (snowboard[37])
National Target Shooting Association of Ireland shooting[t 2]
(rifle, pistol)
1980 (pistol[38]);
1996 (rifle[38])
Swim Ireland aquatics
(swimming, water polo, diving)
1924[25] 1924[27] (water polo[26]);
1928 (swimming[26]);
1948 (diving[39])
Irish Table-Tennis Association table tennis
Irish Taekwondo Union taekwondo
Tennis Ireland tennis 1924[26]
Irish Triathlon Association triathlon 2000[26]
Volleyball Association of Ireland volleyball >1973[25]
Irish Amateur Weightlifting Association weightlifting 1960[25] 1960[27]
Irish Amateur Wrestling Association wrestling (freestyle) 1948[25] 1952[26]


  1. Bord Luthchleas Éireann affiliation date.
  2. 1 2 3 4 Golf and shooting each have two associations listed by the OCI, although the Olympic Charter states "An NOC shall not recognise more than one national federation for each sport governed by an IF".[30] In each sport, both associations are separately affiliated to the relevant IF (the International Golf Federation[31] and the International Shooting Sport Federation[32])
  3. Irish Cycling Federation affiliation date.
  4. 1 2 The GUI, the ILGU, and the Professional Golfers' Association (Irish Region) are co-ordinating Irish planning for golf at the 2016 Olympics;[35]
  5. 1988 Summer Paralympics

Baseball Ireland was formerly affiliated to the OCI,[40] but is no longer listed since baseball was removed from the list of Olympic sports after 2008.[24][41]

See also



  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 MacCarthy 2010, pp. 296–303.
  2. 1 2 3 4 Ireland and Olympism, p. 432.
  3. "Tuarascáil agus Ráitis Airgeadais don Bhliain dar Críoch 31 Nollaig 2009" (PDF) (in Irish). Irish Sports Council. 2010. p. 15. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
  4. 1 2 3 O'Sullivan, Patrick T. (Spring 1998). "Ireland & the Olympic Games". History Ireland. Dublin. 6 (1).
  5. "Role of the OCI". Olympic Council of Ireland. 1 January 2010. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
  6. 1 2 3 MacCarthy 2010, pp. 305–314.
  7. MacCarthy 2010, pp. 314–9.
  8. Krüger, Arnd; William J. Murray (2003). The Nazi Olympics: sport, politics and appeasement in the 1930s. University of Illinois Press. p. 230. ISBN 0-252-02815-5.
  9. HL Deb 21 October 2004 vol 665 c99WA Hansard
  10. Clarke, Vivienne (12 August 2016). "Ross to carry out 'robust inquiry' into Olympic tickets". The Irish Times. Retrieved 12 August 2016.
  11. Sandy, Matt (9 August 2016). "Face of Irish executive arrested over alleged sale of €3m official tickets at Rio Olympics -". Irish Independent. Retrieved 12 August 2016.
  12. "Pro 10: Mallon distributing tickets on its behalf". RTÉ.ie. 12 August 2016. Retrieved 12 August 2016.
  13. Doyle, Kevin (17 August 2016). "President of Olympic Council of Ireland Pat Hickey 'taken to hospital' following arrest". Irish Independent. Retrieved 17 August 2016.
  14. "Retired judge Mr Justice Carroll Moran to lead Olympic tickets inquiry". Examiner.ie. 24 August 2016.
  15. "Staff Profiles". Olympic Council of Ireland. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
  16. "Contact Us". Olympic Council of Ireland. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
  17. "Bye-law 1.6 to Rules 27 and 28" Olympic Charter, p. 60.
  18. 1 2 "History". Olympic Council of Ireland. Archived from the original on 22 August 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-23.
  19. 1 2 Ireland and Olympism, p. 433.
  20. Died 6 December 1975, aged 72; Death of former Garda Commissioner, Irish Times, 8 December 1975, p. 13.
  21. "OCI will defend itself 'to the hilt'". RTÉ.ie. 18 August 2016. Retrieved 18 August 2016.
  22. "28. Composition of the NOCs" Olympic Charter, p. 58.
  23. "29. The National Federations" Olympic Charter, p. 61.
  24. 1 2 "Contact the OCI; National Federations". OCI. 1 June 2012. Retrieved 11 August 2012.
  25. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 Ireland and Olympism, p. 440.
  26. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 "Ireland Summer Sports". SportsReference.com. Retrieved 20 February 2010.
  27. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 Ireland and Olympism, pp. 434–5.
  28. 1 2 3 4 "Ireland Winter Sports". SportsReference.com. Retrieved 20 February 2010.
  29. "Ireland Canoeing: Men's Canadian Singles, Slalom Results". SportsReference.com. Retrieved 20 February 2010.
  30. Olympic Charter, "Bye-law 1.2 to Rules 27 and 28", p. 59.
  31. "Members". International Golf Federation. Retrieved 11 August 2012.
  32. "Letter I". Member Federations. International Shooting Sport Federation. Retrieved 11 August 2012.
  33. 1 2 3 "Ireland Cycling". SportsReference.com. Retrieved 20 February 2010.
  34. 1 2 3 "Ireland Equestrianism". SportsReference.com. Retrieved 20 February 2010.
  35. "Golfing Unions Preparing for the Future" (Press release). Irish Ladies' Golf Union. 12 January 2012. Retrieved 11 August 2012.
  36. 1 2 "History of the Paralympic Council of Ireland". Paralympic Council of Ireland. Retrieved 20 February 2010.
  37. "Teen US-born snowboarder to represent Ireland in Sochi". BBC Online. 31 January 2014. Retrieved 18 August 2016. American-born teenager Seamus O'Connor will become Ireland's first-ever Olympic competitor in the snowboard halfpipe and slopestyle events in Sochi.; O'Hara, Paul (11 February 2014). "Irish Snowboarder Seamus O'Connor Through To Semi Final At Sochi". Balls.ie. Retrieved 18 August 2016.
  38. 1 2 "Ireland Shooting". SportsReference.com. Retrieved 20 February 2010.
  39. Scully, Michael (15 August 2016). "Irish diver Oliver Dingley makes history by qualifying for Olympic semi-finals -". Irish Daily Mirror. Retrieved 18 August 2016.
  40. "Doyle pulls out of race for OCI place". Irish Independent. 14 May 2005. Retrieved 11 August 2012. there was some surprise when volleyball and baseball's representatives, Susan Ahern and Mike Kindle were both elected
  41. "Support Irish Baseball". Baseball Ireland. Retrieved 11 August 2012. We are fortunate to have the support of some corporate sponsors here in Ireland and America as well as the Olympic Council of Ireland , but this will end shortly due to baseball's eviction from the Olympic Games for 2012.

External links

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