SPEECH BY MAYOR OF CLARE AT CIVIC RECEPTION FOR CLARE SPECIAL OLYMPIANS AT ARAS CONTAE AN CHLAIR ON MONDAY, 21 JUNE 2010
“County Manager, Fellow Councillors, Invited Guests,
This evening we have gathered in Aras Contae an Chláir to celebrate the achievements of the County’s Special Olympians who last week brought home 9 medals in just 10 events at the Special Olympics Ireland Games.
Of course, a Civic Reception is the highest accolade at the disposal of Clare County Council for any individual, group or organisation and one that is, for those in receipt of it this evening, thoroughly deserved.
As the father of one of the Clare Olympians, I would like to say how proud I am of those who represented their county and families with such pride at the University of Limerick.
It was a wonderful occasion and one that I am sure its participants will never forget.
The Games brought together an estimated 1,900 Special Olympics athletes from all 32 Irish counties.
They were supported by 650 coaches and official delegates and cheered on by some 5,000 family members and friends.
Team Munster, of which Clare’s Olympians were members, applied itself excellently throughout the Games.
Competitors from each of the province’s six counties came together under one name to compete in the Games, and in doing so participate in a universal celebration of life, hope, equality and ability.
The Special Olympics oath promotes the essence of true sportsmanship, that is: “Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt”.
I can say without doubt that the bravery and dedication shown by all participants of the Games was exemplary.
Behind each and every one of the Olympians we are honouring this evening there are, of course, numerous committed volunteers and family members who have helped turn dreams into a reality.
This evening’s civic reception is as much official recognition of your efforts.
Across County Clare alone, there are hundreds of people involved with the Special Olympics movement whether that is competitively or through voluntary support.
Indeed, volunteerism is an integral part of the Special Olympics ethos.
The organisation at local, national and international level would not exist today — and could not have been created — without the time, energy, commitment and enthusiasm of its many volunteers.
I salute this strong volunteering ethos, which underlines Special Olympics’ international status as more than just a sporting organisation.
It embodies all that is good about the human spirit through its empowerment of individuals with intellectual disabilities to become physically fit, productive and respected members of society by way of sports training and competition.
Special Olympics Ireland has brought hope to many thousands of individuals across Ireland.
Globally, the organisation supports 2.5 million people with intellectual disabilities in more than 200 Programs in over 180 countries.
This represents a phenomenal contribution to society.
In conclusion, I would like to wish every one associated with the Special Olympics the very best in the future.
I also wish to acknowledge the enormous commitment demonstrated by the organisers of the Special Olympics Ireland Games to ensuring that the event was an outstanding succuss.
It now gives me great pleasure to present Clare’s Special Olympians with an official scroll to mark this historic occasion.
Comhgairdeas go léir.
COUNCILLOR TONY MULCAHY
MAYOR OF CLARE