Sports Ministers from both sides of the border have today marked the historic visit of the London Olympic 2012 flame to Dublin.
Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Leo Varadkar and Northern Ireland Minister for Sport Carál Ní Chuilín met with Lord Sebastian Coe at Croke Park, where Henry Shefflin took the flame around the new Skywalk.
Earlier Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Michael Ring and Minister Ní Chuilín were present for the ceremony at the border, where Olympic boxing medallists Wayne McCullough and Michael Carruth handed the Torch over from the North to the Republic.
“It’s fantastic for all of Ireland to be a part of the Olympic experience. This is a great opportunity to showcase Ireland on the global stage, ahead of the world’s most significant sporting event. I would like to wish all Irish athletes, right across Ireland, the best of luck. I am sure they will all do us proud,” Minister Varadkar said.
Northern Ireland Sports Minister Carál Ní Chuilín said: “This is a significant day, as the all-Ireland Torch Relay visits Dublin on its journey to the 2012 Games. I am pleased that the spirit of the Olympic Torch will come to all parts of this island. Its journey demonstrates that sport knows no boundaries.
“Today the all-Ireland Torch Relay will visit locations from Parnell Square in Dublin to the Newtownards Road in Belfast. It will unite communities with the Olympic spirit and join all those involved – be they Torchbearer or spectator – in this shared event.”
The flame was due to travel to St Stephens Green with Sonia O’Sullivan lighting an Olympic cauldron, and Minister Ring addressing the assembled crowds: “I can’t think of a better way to mark the imminent departure of our Olympic team to Britain, and to wish them every success in the London Olympic Games. These sporting heroes, along with the torchbearers are wonderful ambassadors for sport and for Ireland. Their dedication, discipline and success at national and international level has provided inspiration, encouragement and a sense of pride. They have helped to lift the spirits of the nation and have given us all many moments to cherish and celebrate.”