Belfast Telegraph

Stormont reception plan for golfer

Politicians at the Northern Ireland Assembly have pledged to hold a special reception at Stormont to congratulate Rory McIlroy on his historic US Open win.

Business at the legislature was suspended to allow all parties to speak in praise of the young Co Down golfer.

Assembly members also spoke highly of the sacrifices of the McIlroy family who they said had worked tirelessly to produce the new "Celtic Tiger".

The Democratic Unionist Party's Peter Weir, who represents the North Down constituency where the family live, said Rory was born into an average household who worked hard to help their son achieve international acclaim.

"I stand here tired, but elated," he told the Assembly.

"Indeed there are many who spent last night huddled around a television set or a radio listening to the prodigious victory of our native son Rory McIlroy."

He said the golfer's ability to deal with not just victory but also defeats in his career marked him out as a "true sports superstar", and revealed a temperament which Mr Weir said was a tribute also to the young sportsman's family.

Mr Weir said the win, following on the heels of Graeme McDowell's victory in the US Open last year, was a major achievement for Northern Ireland sport.

And he predicted cross-party support for an official reception at the Assembly to recognise the latest success.

Sinn Fein's Conor Murphy added his congratulations to what he said was a fantastic achievement and he said there was a "huge sense of pride" in the win. Mr Murphy said the victory had lifted people "particularly in difficult economic times".

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