Tuesday 21 January 2020

Higgins set to join stars greeting Olympic torch

Liam Collins

Liam Collins

President Michael D Higgins has been invited to greet the Olympic torch when it reaches the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) headquarters in Howth on June 6.

It is understood that the invitation was issued in the past week and the OCI is now awaiting confirmation that the President will be among the dignitaries from both sides of the border involved in the Olympic ceremonies.

Invitations have also been issued to Bono, golfer Rory McElroy, rugby star Brian O'Driscoll and celebrity duo Jedward, to participate in carrying the Olympic torch through the streets of Dublin.

It will be carried across the border at Carrickcarnan at 7am on June 6 by Olympic boxer Wayne McCullough, who will hand it to the gold medal boxing champion Michael Carruth.

It will then be taken by convoy, with garda outriders, to the OCI headquarters.

The torch will then be taken to Croke Park where it will be ceremonially paraded on a special walkway on the roof of the stadium.

In the hours that follow it is believed a cross section of celebrities, athletes and ordinary people from different walks of life will be given the honour of taking the Olympic torch on a tour of Dublin.

Starting at the Garden of Remembrance it will be paraded down O'Connell Street, through the International Financial Services Centre, across the Samuel Beckett Bridge to the southside, looping through Harold's Cross and back to the Mansion House for a star-studded gala presentation.

It was hoped to involve members of the Irish soccer team in the ceremonies but they are now expected to be in Poland for the European Championships.

The Olympic torch will then be taken to the UK, via Belfast, for a nationwide tour prior to the opening of the 2012 Olympic Games in London on July 27.

Samsung, Coca-Cola and Lloyds Bank are pouring millions into the sponsorship of the official tour of the Olympic torch through Ireland and Britain.

Although sources in the OCI cannot confirm the attendance of Mr Higgins at the ceremonies in Dublin they are hopeful that because of his support for sport and his decision to fulfil a busy public schedule, he will accept the honour of welcoming the torch to the city.

The rules governing the carrying of the Olympic torch, which are set by the International Olympic Committee and the organisers of the London Games, prohibit politicians from participating in the carrying of the torch.

Sunday Independent

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