Press Release

Minister Moloney Congratulates the Irish Paralympic Team On Their Wonderful Achievements

John Moloney TD, Minister of State with responsibility for Equality, Disability and Mental Health has today (Wednesday 17th September, 2008) congratulated the Irish Paralympic team on their wonderful achievements in Beijing. The Irish Paralympic team which travelled to Beijing comprised a total of 45 athletes across nine different sports; Athletics, Archery, Boccia, Cycling, Equestrian, Football, Sailing, Swimming and Table Tennis.

The Minister who attended the games on behalf of the Irish Government stated” I would like to congratulate each and every member of the Paralympic team, coaches and officials who participated at these games. Ireland’s proud tradition in Paralympic sport has been further enhanced in Beijing. Medals, world records and personal bests have been a feature of the team’s performances and they have been marvellous ambassadors for Ireland. The standards in Paralympic sport continue to rise and it is a source of pride that Irish competitors are not only rising to meet those standards but in some cases are actually setting new standards for other nations to attempt to emulate”

Minister Moloney added”The success of the Irish team in Beijing is the result of the commitment and dedication of all those involved in Paralympic sport in Ireland, including the Paralympic Council of Ireland. Great praise must go to all those involved in the Irish team, and to the coaches, families, friends and supporters of all Irish competitors”

The Minister concluded by saying “It was with great pride that I attended these games and the dedication of the members of the team to their sport and the demonstration of the Paralympic values of courage, determination, inspiration and equality made them proud representatives of the country. I was delighted for Jason Smyth (100m and 200m), Michael McKillop(800m), Darragh McDonald(400 metres freestyle swimming) and Gabriel Shelly (individual boccia) who won medals for Ireland”

First held in Rome in 1960, the Summer Paralympic Games have grown substantially since then and are now, not only the major event for elite athletes with a physical and sensory disability but one of the major sports events in the world. The number of athletes participating in this year’s Summer Paralympic Games increased from 400 athletes from 23 countries in Rome in 1960, to 4,000 athletes from 153 countries who competed in China.