Well-known figures get behind Special Olympics

Business, sporting and media figures yesterday joined forces in a rallying call for Special Olympics Ireland — a registered charity — which has to raise €1.9m in the coming months to fund its national games.

Well-known figures get behind Special Olympics

The games will take place at the University of Limerick campus from June 12-15 next as part of Limerick City of Culture 2014.

Announcing the games at UL yesterday, Matt English, chief executive of Special Olympics Ireland said they were confident people all over the country will respond and ensure the games at which 1,500 athletes will compete, are a major success.

They will need 3,000 local volunteers to help run the huge event.

Mr English said: “We need money and people to run the games and we are confident we can reduce the €1.9m cost by up to €700,000 through local companies giving various goods and services.

“The two critical areas to guarantee success are people and finance. Everyone connected with the Special Olympics Ireland is immensely excited to be returning to Limerick for our 2014 games.”

Athletes from the 32 counties taking part in the Limerick games will be accompanied by 500 coaches along with an estimated 3,000 family supporters and friends.

Up to 120 athletes will be chosen to represent an all-Ireland team at the World Games which will be held in Los Angeles in 2015.

RTÉ 2FM’s Will Leahy who co-hosted the announcement ceremony at the UL Concert Hall said: “We’re all here to mark something very special today. We all remember how the people and businesses of Limerick came together to support the games in 2010... But like in 2010, they will need each other and everyone here to get on board.”

Former rugby international David Wallace said: “It is now up to everyone to show them [the athletes] the support they deserve and I call on all businesses in Limerick and the Munster region to get behind these games and support these fantastic athletes in every way they can.”

Businessman Denis O’Brien, chairman of Special Olympics Ireland’s council of patrons, said it was an endorsement of the 2010 games that Limerick has been chosen again.

Carolan Lennon, for premier sponsor Eircom, said 2014 would mark 29 years of Special Olympics Ireland: “We are extremely proud of this association and how the organisation has grown and developed in that time.”

Special Olympics competitions in each sport have been taking place at regional level.

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