Fine Gael Meath East TD, Regina Doherty, is today (Wednesday) launching a campaign in Leinster House to recruit Special Olympics Champions. Deputy Doherty is hoping to encourage TDs, Senators and their constituents to get involved and help change the lives of people with intellectual disabilities through sport.
“Special Olympics Ireland (SOI) is an organisation that we can all be truly proud of, and this year it is embarking on a new four year strategy. Since it was first formed here in 1978, SOI has grown to include over 11,000 athletes taking part in 15 sports in more than 440 clubs across the country.
“The lifeblood of the organisation is its volunteers, and that is why I am putting out a call today to my fellow members of the Oireachtas to help ensure the strength of the organisation over the coming years. The positive impact that the work of SOI has on the lives of those with disabilities cannot be quantified. And, speaking from a personal point of view, I can say that the rewards as a volunteer are life changing.
“The Special Olympics is about much more than just a major international event every four years; every weekend in hundreds of clubs across the country there are sports events taking place that mean just as much to the participants. That’s why ongoing support from local volunteers is absolutely vital. Over 25,000 volunteers have already signed up to support athletes in sports training and competition opportunities, but there is no reason why we should stop here.
“Today, I will be calling on my colleagues in Leinster House to become Special Olympics Champions and use their position to further the cause of the organisation. TDs, Senators and local politicians can help raise awareness through newsletters, by making presentations to their local councils and even by holding civic receptions for Special Olympians. We need to tap into this potential to make sure SOI is given the platform it deserves.”