The office of Lord Mayor off Cork Catherine Clancy confirmed that the City Council planned, in co-operation with Bus Éireann and An Garda Síochána, to parade the gold medal walker through the main street of Cork so the people of his home city could come out and welcome him home.
Heffernan arrives into Dublin airport’s Terminal 2 at 5.10pm today where a big reception is expected to greet him, including his family. He will then be driven to Cork with the open top parade expected to happen around 9pm, depending on how long it takes the gold medal winner to make it to Cork.
Lord Mayor Clancy said she was sure a large crowd would turn up to welcome Robert home: “I know there is a huge amount of goodwill and excitement in Cork after Robert’s win... The city is so upbeat after his win and I know people will turn up to welcome Robert back home.”
She also called on people to come out in the Cork colours and to bring their flags and banners in preparation for celebrating an All-Ireland hurling win on Sept 8.
Meanwhile, Amhrán na bhFiann was heard for the first time in 18 years at a World Track and Field Championships in Moscow yesterday as Heffernan was presented with his gold medal for the men’s 50km walk.
Sonia O’Sullivan was the last Irish athlete to raise the Tricolour when she won gold in the 5,000m in Gothenburg in 1995.
Robert’s brother, Elton, said the family were all “walking on air” since the Togher AC athlete struck gold.
“We’ll come up to Dublin to meet him off the plane and then we should be back down for nine o’ clock. It should really kick off when he comes back home. There will be a great buzz,” he said.
@RM_Heffernan huge congratulations Rob, all us Irish abroad walk proud of our new World champion, and what a week for Cork— Dave Canty (@Tremdave) August 15, 2013
There is a provisional plan to have a party on Saturday evening in Soho on Grand Parade and then a parade on Monday at 7.30pm organised by Togher AC and the City Council in the local area.