The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Charlie Flanagan has responded to calls from the family of Pat Hickey for the Minister and Government to intervene in issues surrounding his detention in Rio de Janeiro.
In a statement issued this afternoon, the Hickey family called on Minister Flanagan and Minister for Sport, Shane Ross to intervene urgently in addressing "extremely worrying" issues surrounding his arrest and detention and the effect it is having on his health.”
The family said they were "gravely concerned about the effect this degrading and humiliating ordeal has had on their father and grandfather and how it continues to affect his physical and mental health.”
Minister Flanagan responded, saying:
“The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade provides consular care to Irish citizens who have been arrested or detained overseas.
“We are currently assisting two Irish citizens detained in Rio de Janeiro.
“In general it is Department policy not to comment in detail publicly on individual consular cases, of which there have been almost 1,500 already this year.
“Any Irish citizen who requests or avails of consular assistance is entitled to privacy and confidentiality.
“However, I wish to make certain points in response to today’s statement from the Hickey family.
“The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is providing ongoing consular assistance to Mr. Hickey through the Irish Embassy and Consulate in Brazil.
“My officials are in ongoing contact with the family of this citizen and with legal representative acting on his behalf.
“Senior officials of the Department met with Mr Hickey’s Dublin-based solicitors on Wednesday, 24 August, and discussed the family’s concerns in detail, and explained the Department’s approach to this consular case.
“In general terms, the Department’s focus in cases of arrest or detention of Irish citizens overseas is on a number of specific issues including ensuring that the citizen has access to legal representation, that the citizen is not being discriminated against on the grounds of nationality, and that the host authorities are fulfilling their responsibilities in ensuring the welfare and wellbeing of our detained citizen.
“In this context my officials are in ongoing contact with the Brazilian authorities.
“The Department cannot however provide legal advice or interfere in any way in the judicial processes in another country.
“I have agreed to meet with the Hickey family and arrangements will be made for this meeting to take place in the coming days.
“ In the meantime, my Department is continuing to monitor developments in this consular case closely and is continuing to provide all appropriate consular advice and assistance to Mr. Hickey and his family.”