With the election for Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) President tonight in Dublin, RTÉ.ie posed three key questions to the candidates.

Pat Hickey was head of the OCI for more than 20 years and he finally stepped aside following his arrest at the Rio Games last August on charges of ticket-touting.

Those in the running to replace him are Swim Ireland's Sarah Keane, acting-OCI President Willie O'Brien and Basketball Ireland CEO Bernard O'Byrne.

O'Brien is selling himself as the continuity candidate, having more than 20 years experience on the Council while O'Byrne, a former FAI chief, has set himself up as the change candidate.

Keane has been on the OCI for two years, though she is one of a new breed of sports administrators in this country and is the youngest candidate.

The 34 OCI member federations, plus the members of the OCI council will decide who takes over.

Sarah Keane has been on the OCI for the past two years

Sarah Keane
Age: 43
Position: CEO, Swim Ireland
Nominated by: Swim Ireland
Background: Sarah Keane is a qualified solicitor and became the first Chief Executive Officer of Swim Ireland ten years ago. She is a former national level swimmer and international water polo player. She was elected to the board of the OCI in August 2014 and is on the boards of both the Federation of Irish Sport and Ireland Active.

What is the biggest challenge facing the OCI today?
"Restoring trust in the organization from its members, athletes, the Government and the public. The OCI should be a force for good for all sport in Ireland. The first step on this journey is to ensure that the organisation’s leadership has the necessary skills and experience to restore it to its rightful place as a key body in Ireland’s sporting infrastructure."

Does the OCI currently provide value for the tax payers' money that it receives?
"The tax payers money invested in the OCI through Sport Ireland funds specific elements of the OCI’s operations. Audited accounts were prepared each year which included a check on whether all grant monies were spent in accordance with the terms and conditions of the grant. An OCI with a restored reputation should however be in a position to leverage additional private and public funding to the benefit of all its member organisations and the future development of Irish Sport."

Why are you the right person to lead the OCI?
"I want to see Irish athletes succeed on the world stage and Irish Olympic sport further its development for the benefit of all. I believe that this can be better supported by an OCI that listens to the voice of the athlete, that collaborates and shares more, that is more transparent and is operating to best practice in governance. I am a solicitor, have recently completed the Diploma in Company Direction and Governance with the Institute of Directors and have for the last ten years worked as CEO of Swim Ireland where we have already made many of the governance and administration changes which will be required to restore trust in the OCI. In short I have the passion combined with the skills and experience to do this job and if privileged enough to be elected am committed to working as hard as I can to ensure that the OCI becomes a much greater force for good for Irish athletes and Irish Olympic sport."

Willie O'Brien in Rio last year

Willie O'Brien
Age: 68
Position: Olympic Council of Ireland Acting President, Archery Ireland President 
Nominated by: Archery Ireland, Irish Ice Hockey Association, Irish Amateur Wrestling Association
Background: Willie O’Brien is a long-serving sports administrator and became acting president of the OCI when Pat Hickey stepped aside. He was Chef de Mission for Team Ireland at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.

What is the biggest challenge facing the OCI today?
"To renew the confidence of our member federations, athletes, coaches, governmental bodies, and the general public so that they can appreciate that the Olympic Council of Ireland is an entity fit for purpose, fully compliant with all authorities - and does not lack transparency and openness.

The challenge is to achieve the above, while avoiding distraction from time wasters, power-seekers and allied elements, to enrich the excellent preparation structures already place at the OCI and which has been successfully implemented over recent Olympiads by the OCI in co-operation and partnership with Sport Ireland, the International Olympic Committee and the National Federations.

We have been under attack from vested interests and many ill-informed commentators, most of whom don't understand that the OCI is a well-managed autonomous body answerable to the International Olympic Committee and the National Federations."

Does the OCI currently provide value for the tax payers’ money that it receives?
"The OCI currently receives tax payer funds from Government through Sport Ireland in a moderate and extremely controlled manner for the purposes of:

Grant aid received from Sport Ireland is measured by application and controlled by the provision of vouched receipts and annual audited accounts, supplementary Sport Ireland receipts and disbursements account, all monitored and approved annually by Sport Ireland. State income only accounts for one third of the OCI's income. The balance comes from sponsors and the International Olympic Committee. For the State element we believe we offer first rate value for money at all levels."

Why are you the right person to lead the OCI?
"I believe that OCI leadership requires Olympic Games experience, international Olympic knowledge and good governance among many other elements. The council's services to Team Ireland's current and potential Olympic athletes could, and should not, be disrupted due to decisions made through inexperience.

I believe I am the only candidate who has absolutely no ties or potential conflicts with the National Federations and their contractual and/or financial commitments. In addition,the OCI already has one CEO (Stephen Martin), another one as president is one too many and would not be in the spirit of good governance.

As the only candidate with Olympic Games management experience and with a extensive knowledge of the workings of the International Olympic Committee. I am confident that I can deliver very valuable extra benefits to the National Federations at many levels. I act in a totally voluntary capacity and am fully focused on the job in hand. I am not a double-iobber with conflicted sports priorities."

Bernard O'Byrne is the only candidate never to have been part of the OCI previously

Bernard O'Byrne
Age:
62
Position: CEO and Secretary General of Basketball Ireland
Nominated by: Baskeball Ireland
Background: Bernard O’Byrne was CEO of the FAI for five sometimes tumultuous years having worked his way through the organisation’s ranks from his days as a founder of Belgrade Athletic FC in 1973. He is currently in charge of Basketball Ireland, having in the past worked for Coca Cola, Nestle Ireland and the Mansfield Group.

What is the biggest challenge facing the OCI today?
"Restoring the credibility of the OCI in the eyes of the Irish sporting community and the wider public. We also have to make the OCI relevant to Irish sport. I listened to Olympians coming back from Rio and heard them speak about a disconnect and a lack of knowledge of the OCI, which isn’t good enough. The organisation needs to be more relevant to Irish sport and Irish sportspeople."

Does the OCI currently provide value for the tax payers’ money that it receives?
"It does offer some value, but could probably do better. The Olympics is associated with winning medals and for our size Ireland has a reasonable record, though one that can be improved. Medals is one criteria that is used and the other is participation - not just in the top six or eight biggest sports. We, along with Sport Ireland and the Government, have to do our part in getting young people participating in sport; there is a volume of work there."

Why are you the right person to lead the OCI?
"I have experience going back 30 years of leading sports organisations and business organisations and a track record of getting results. I offer a reform ticket and it is up to the sporting bodies to decide if they have an appetite for reform."