40 to carry Olympic flame in Dublin09/05/2012 - 14:53:45
More than 40 torch bearers will carry the Olympic flame through the streets of Dublin when it tours the only city outside the UK.
Eurovision hopefuls Jedward, former international footballer Paul McGrath and Tony Sutherland, father of the late Olympic boxer Darren, are among the latest list of relay runners revealed.
The Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) said 41 torch bearers will take part a six hour dash that will include a cross border ceremony, a civic event, a run on the Skyline roof at Croke Park and a relay around the capital.
Organisers said the short, symbolic visit, will reflect the success of the peace process and the all island make-up of the Irish team for the London Olympic Games.
Pat Hickey, OCI president, said the event – on June 6 – will bring the spirit of the London Games to Dublin and start the countdown for the Irish team’s challenge at the world’s biggest sporting event.
“It has taken many, many months of lobbying at the highest international levels to get the permission required to bring the relay south,” he said.
“All along, we have had the full support of Lord Sebastian Coe, chairman of LOCOG, the London Games organising committee, for this move.”
The Olympic Torch’s tour of Ireland begins in east Belfast on Sunday June 3, when 400 torchbearers will begin a four day relay around Northern Ireland.
Campaigners who have helped champion issues including disability awareness and suicide prevention will be among those to carry the torch through 60 towns and villages and famous landmarks, like the Carrick-a-rede rope bridge.
A series of events have also been organised to celebrate the Olympic spirit when the torch makes overnight stops in Derry, Portrush, Belfast and Newry.
Stormont Sports Minister, Sinn Féin’s Caral Ní Chuilín, said of the torch run: “This is a real opportunity for the entire island to shine as the torch visits between June 3 and June 7.”
There will be a short ceremony near the border as the torch travels to the Republic, with the handover between Irish Olympic boxing legends Wayne McCullough, from Belfast, and Michael Carruth, from Dublin.
President Michael D Higgins will greet the first Dublin torch bearer in a ceremony outside the offices of the Olympic Council in Howth.
The convoy, which will include a vehicle with a miner’s lantern holding the original Olympic Flame from Olympia in Greece, will move on to Croke Park before the first leg of the city relay starts.
The torch will pass several historical sites including the Garden of Remembrance, GPO, Custom House, St Patrick Cathedral, Christchurch and Dublin Castle before arriving at St Stephen’s Green and going back to the North.
Ireland’s most famous Olympian, 77-year-old runner Ronnie Delany, 71-year-old paralympian Anne Ebbs, rugby star Shane Horgan, boxer Kenneth Egan, suicide prevention worker Joan Freeman and John Collins, who will represent the Traveller community, will be among the proud members of the rely team.
Lord Mayor of Dublin Andrew Montague said the relay will gives Dublin a wonderful opportunity to share in the London 2012 experience.
“On June 6 Dublin will become the only city outside of Greece and the UK to host the Olympic Flame. This is a huge honour and I call on all Dubliners to come out on the streets and cheer our torch bearers in what will be a great day for Dublin,” he said.
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