Thursday, January 24, 2013

Doherty praises Special Olympics athletes ahead of Winter Games in South Korea

Fine Gael Meath East TD, Regina Doherty, has wished the Irish Special Olympics team well, ahead of their departure to South Korea, where the World Winter Games will kick off next week. Deputy Doherty paid particular tribute to the thousands of volunteers that made the Special Olympics movement possible.

Deputy Doherty welcomed members of Team Ireland to Leinster House earlier today (Thursday), as part of an event she organised with Labour Senator, Mary Moran.

“The Special Olympics movement is a heartening example of the vibrant volunteerism that is alive and well in communities across Ireland. Taking part in the World Winter Games would not be possible for our Special Olympics athletes next week, were it not for the hard work, time and commitment of volunteers.

“The movement is thriving. Last year alone almost 1,000 new athletes joined Special Olympics Ireland, with an additional 1,000 volunteers coming on board. Almost half of these volunteers are under the age of 25, which is a testament to the community spirit of our young people.

“The World Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea, is primed to be a fantastic event. More than 3,300 athletes and coaches representing 112 countries will take part, supported by over 15,000 family members, friends, volunteers and spectators.

“Team Ireland will be made up of 14 athletes, who are due to depart tomorrow (Friday) for a week and a half long trip to the Games. One of the athletes, Dubliner Gary Burton, told us today of the incredible contribution the Special Olympics has made to his life, and how being involved has helped him come out of his shell, make new friends and boost his confidence.

“The Team Ireland representatives who visited Leinster House today with the Special Olympics Torch were accompanied by members of the GardaĆ­ and the PSNI; and I was interested to learn that Constable David McCausland was the first member of the PSNI to visit Leinster House.

“I wish every member of Team Ireland and the volunteers who will accompany them all the best in South Korea next week.”

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