Irish President Michael D Higgins says Olympics exposed 'serious issues'

Irish President Michael D Higgins
Irish President Michael D Higgins held a reception for the country's Olympic athletes on Sunday

Doping and administration issues surrounding Ireland's Olympic Games could undermine public confidence, President Michael D Higgins has warned.

Olympic Council of Ireland President Pat Hickey is still in a Rio prison after being arrested during a police investigation into ticket touting.

Boxer Michael O'Reilly was sent home from Rio following a failed drugs test.

"These Olympic Games have also exposed some serious issues for us," said the Irish president.

Speaking at a reception for Ireland's Olympians at his Aras an Uachtarain residence in Dublin, the Irish president also touched on the boxing judging controversy in Rio after several of the country's fighters were the victim of contentious decisions.

Media playback is not supported on this device

Michael Conlan makes his feelings clear after his controversial defeat

Belfast boxer Michael Conlan said he would never again compete under the international governing body's banner after his bantamweight quarter-final defeat by Russia's Vladimir Nikitin.

A number of boxing referees and judges were later removed by the sport's organisers following controversial results.

"Issues of doping, alas never far from the Olympic story in recent years, questionable decision-making by referees and judges during the games, and the controversy around the administration of our sports all deserve serious analysis and fearless responses here at home and internationally," added President Higgins.

"Each of these issues, if not adequately addressed, has the potential to undermine public confidence in our athletes, in our sporting administration and in the fairness of international sporting competition itself."

Paying tribute to medal winners, rowing brothers Paul and Gary O'Donovan and sailor Annalise Murphy, the Irish president praised the performances of the Irish team who achieved 14 top-10 finishes in Rio as opposed to the eight at London 2012.

"You have succeeded and accomplished great feats," Mr Higgins told the Irish Olympians.

None of Ireland's Olympic boxers were present at Sunday's reception.

Top Stories