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Ministers attend ‘Special’ sporting spectacle in Limerick

The Sports Minister Carál Ní Chuilín and Education Minister John O’Dowd attended the opening ceremony of Special Olympics Ireland at The People’s Park in Limerick last night.
Friday, 13 June 2014

Some 1,500 athletes from across Ireland will compete in the Games which run until 15 June and they will be supported by some 500 coaches and over 3,000 volunteers as they participate in a range of sports. Following these Games, the Irish team are to compete in the 2015 World Games in Los Angeles will be selected.

Minister Ní Chuilín paid tribute to the athletes, their families and their teams of helpers and volunteers who have helped Special Olympics develop into the wonderful sporting movement it now is.

She said; “It is humbling to be present at this truly memorable event which is bringing people together in a spirit of friendship, co-operation and competition. Special Olympics helps both children and adults to not only improve their physical fitness and wellbeing but helps them develop courage and inspires them to greater things.

“All this would not be possible were it not for the support and devotion of families, coaches and volunteers and I commend all of them and the organisers of Special Olympics Ireland who have together made this weekend possible.

“Sport is for everyone and I and my department are committed to the promotion of equality and tackling disadvantage through sport. There is no better conduit for doing this and no better example of where this is most effective than in the Special Olympics Games. I’ve no doubt that a fun filled weekend is in store and I extend my best wishes to all the participants.

“I also encourage everyone to follow the athletes at the Games online through facebook.com/SpecialOlympicsIreland and twitter.com/soireland.”

The Education Minister said; “The Special Olympics is such an important event and I am honoured to be able to support it. Sport provides a wonderful opportunity to develop skills and confidence as well as to improve fitness. Over the next few days there will be plenty of fun and camaraderie and I wish everyone well for another successful and memorable Games.”

Earlier today the Sports Minister visited Belfast’s Central Station to extend best wishes to local competitors as they began their journey to Limerick for the Games.

Notes to editors:

  1. Special Olympics is the world’s largest sporting organisation for adults and children with intellectual disabilities. They provide training and competition for more than four million athletes in over 170 countries.
  2. The Special Olympics World Games take place every two years.
  3. Photographs of the Sports Minister with competitors at Central Station are available on Flickr.
  4. Media enquiries should be addressed to the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure Communications Office by telephoning 028 9051 5047 or email the DCAL Communications.