Belfast Telegraph

Monday 24 November 2014

Paddy Barnes: I'm not apologising for Twitter tirade

Paddy Barnes
Paddy Barnes
Rory McIlroy with his girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki

Olympic medallist Paddy Barnes has refused to apologise after insulting Ireland’s top Olympic official on Twitter.

The Belfast boxer posted the comments after the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) president Pat Hickey appeared to offer world number one golfer Rory McIlroy the chance to fly the flag for Ireland during the Rio Games in 2016.

Twice-Olympic medallist Paddy vented his anger online and accused the Olympic boss of “crawling” to the golfer, and branded him a “p***k”.

But speaking to the Belfast Telegraph yesterday, Barnes said he would not comment on his criticism of Ireland’s top Olympic official nor apologise for his remarks, which were later removed from Twitter. He said: “I’ve more things to worry about than stupid things like that. I have training and things like that.”

It isn’t clear whether the London 2012 light-flyweight bronze medallist would face any disciplinary action from the OCI, which has refused to comment on the matter.

The Irish Amateur Boxing Association yesterday also said it would not be speaking on the issue. Yesterday Barnes remained active on Twitter, but did not make any additional comments relating to his earlier criticism.

His criticism of Mr Hickey came after comments earlier this week when the Olympics boss offered the chance to carry the tricolour if he pledges sporting allegiance over Team GB, for which he is also entitled to play for, when golf is reintroduced to the summer Games in 2016.

“Can you just imagine what something like this would do for Rory McIlroy?” he said.

“It would suddenly catapult him into the realms of being one of the most instantly recognisable sporting faces on the planet.”

McIlroy is yet to decide whether to compete for Team Ireland or Team GB in Rio.

Background

Paddy Barnes (25) returned home to Belfast this summer a sporting hero after securing his second Olympic bronze. On Tuesday the boxer criticised the head of the Olympic Council of Ireland, over overtures to golfer Rory McIlroy to represent Ireland in Rio.

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