Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 2 August 2014

Officials agree Games celebration

Ireland athletes will enjoy a special Olympics homecoming in Dublin on Wednesday

Sports chiefs and councils officials have finally agreed with athletes on a special Olympics homecoming in Dublin city centre.

Amid reports of communication breakdowns and a funding row, authorities put their heads together at the eleventh hour to come up with a plan to allow the public to celebrate Irish heroes. The event will take place at the Mansion House in Dublin at Wednesday lunchtime.

The Olympic Council of Ireland said it had finalised agreement with the city council and junior sports minister Michael Ring for the homecoming celebration.

"The team arrives home at lunchtime Monday and the athletes will take a short break to see family and recuperate before joining the celebrations," the OCI said.

Discussions on a possible welcome home started on August 2 but Team Ireland chef de mission Sonia O'Sullivan claimed there had been a lack of communication with athletes to see what they wanted.

A poll among Team Ireland members over the weekend revealed most were keen to return to their home towns before being celebrated at a large-scale public event.

Katie Taylor will be centre of attention again on Monday in Bray when she leads an open-top bus parade.

Elsewhere, double bronze medallist Paddy Barnes and boxing team-mate Michael Conlan will be welcomed in Belfast at the Titanic centre on Monday.

Boxer John Joe Nevin will lead a parade in his home town of Mullingar on Monday evening.

The OCI urged members of the public not to come to Dublin Airport on Monday when the team arrives. The athletes will be greeted by a small number of family and friends in a restricted area of the airport in the airside section.

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