Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Leo Varadkar and Minister of State for Tourism & Sport Michael Ring have congratulated Ireland’s triumphant Paralympic Team on their return home with 16 medals from the London Paralympic Games 2012.
The Taoiseach and Minister Varadkar will host a reception for Team Ireland this Friday, while Minister Ring is greeting the team on their arrival at Dublin Airport this evening.
Minister Varadkar said: ‘I will always remember attending the opening ceremony of the Paralympic Games and visiting the athletes in the Paralympic Village. It was a very special moment. These Games witnessed some extraordinary performances from our outstanding athletes’.
“It's encouraging to know that some members of Team Ireland 2012 became involved in competitive sport through reading about previous Paralympic athletes. That’s why it’s so right that Michael McKillop received the Whang Youn Dai Achievement Award from the International Paralympic Committee, for his efforts in schools and the wider community to encourage participation.”
The 49 athletes who competed in ten separate disciplines are one of the most successful Irish Paralympic Teams ever, bringing home a total of eight gold, three silver and five bronze medals.
“It’s clear that the Government's decision to increase funding for Paralympic sport and Paralympians in the last two years was the right decision. However, all credit is due to the Paralympians themselves. Paralympic sport has entered a new era and gone mainstream. Venues at the London Games were at full capacity, sponsors are taking more interest than ever, and there were record viewing figures.”
Minister Michael Ring said: ‘Over the last two weeks, every member of Team Ireland has performed with enthusiasm, drive and a personal determination to compete against the best in the world. There have been world records, personal bests, superstar performances, and highs and lows. I hope this experience has been personally rewarding’.
“You are now household names in Ireland and we have followed your progress with immense pride. Being part of Team Ireland brings a lot of responsibility. As Ambassadors for Ireland you have acquitted yourselves superbly. I warmly congratulate you all.”
Department of Transport, Tourism & Sport: 01 6071090/01 6041087/01 6041007
Nick Miller 086 6992080