Sunday 26 May 2019

Olympic torch should visit Dublin before London 2012 – Sebastian Coe

Helen William and Ella Pickover

THE Olympic torch relay should go through Dublin, London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe said today.

He told the British House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee: "I think it would speak eloquently and powerfully for sport."

Dublin has not been announced as one of the places that the Olympic Flame will visit in the run-up to the start of the London 2012 Games but Lord Coe told MPs that "we are in advanced conversation" over the issue.

He said: "I don't want to go into particular details. I have spent a lot of time on this both in Northern Ireland and in conversations with the Republic.

"From a personal perspective I would like to see a small visit south of the border but, as you can understand, these are complex discussions but it is our ambition to do this."

The torch is being taken to four places in Northern Ireland - Belfast, Derry, Coleraine and Newry.

If the southern leg goes ahead, the torch could be brought to Dublin on June 6 after a symbolic border crossing at Newry marking the peace process.

Several areas in Dublin could be included in the projected torch route including the Garden of Remembrance and Croke Park.

It would be the torch's only detour outside of the UK in the lead-up to the 2012 Games in London.

The relay runs from May 19 to July 27 2012, with the torch travelling about 8,000 miles, culminating in the lighting of the cauldron at the Olympic Stadium in Stratford at the Games' opening ceremony.

A total of 1,018 communities will be visited during the 70-day torch relay, from Lerwick in the Shetland Islands, to St Helier on Jersey, and as far east as Lowestoft in Suffolk to Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh, in the west.

It will be carried by 8,000 torchbearers, many of whom have been nominated for their contribution to the local community.

It is designed to come within 10 miles of 95pc of the population. It will go through every English county and every local authority area in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

People nominated to carry the torch will be contacted with a conditional offer in December and the final 8,000 places will be confirmed from February.

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