Politicians have slammed the Irish government’s failure to hold a civic reception for Ireland’s Olympic heroes when they return home from London.
Gold medal boxer Katie Taylor will be the guest of honour at a massive party in her hometown of Bray in Wicklow on Monday night.
Silver medallist John Joe Nevin will also be feted in his native Mullingar the same night.
But there are no plans for any official homecoming when the team touch down at Dublin Airport aboard an Aer Lingus flight at lunchtime on Monday.
The Irish team will arrive home with a gold medal, a silver and three bronzes for their best Olympic haul in over 50 years.
Plans for a civic reception have been hit by a lack of funds after Dublin’s Lord Mayor asked the Olympic Council of Ireland and sponsors to pay for any event.
OCI president Pat Hickey told the Sunday Independent: “The mayor’s office in Dublin was very vague in its proposals.
“They wanted part of the cost to be borne by the Olympic Council of Ireland or our sponsors. Our attitude was if we are being welcomed back and hosted, then it was up to the city to pay for it.”
A spokesman for Dublin City Council confirmed that they had approached the OCI and asked for a contribution to the cost of a homecoming event.
He stressed that sponsors had contributed to similar celebrations for Irish soccer and rugby teams in the past.
With athletes keen to return home to their families as soon as possible, the government will now host a formal reception for the team on August 17th.
OCI President Hickey added: “I think the Government deserve great praise for organising this on behalf of the nation.”
The lack of a civic reception has been slammed by politicians however.
Fine Gael city councillor Bill Tormey told the paper: “It is an absolute disgrace that there will be no public homecoming for the team.
“This is a lack of respect towards them. It’s something to do with boxing and social caches that does not attach to boxing. If a rugby team beat the
All Blacks in one match, the city would be cordoned off.”
Fine Gael representative for Wicklow Simon Harris said: “I am disappointed there are no plans for a public homecoming.
“I would have thought that a homecoming for our athletes, an open-top bus through the streets of our capital city would have been something within the remit of Dublin city council.”
Independent Wicklow deputy Stephen Donnelly said: “I think it would be an amazing thing if athletes felt up to a public reception, I think the public would like it.”
Dublin city independent councillor Mannix Flynn added: “The need to have this is not far from a State and statutory obligation when you consider it. It’s rather shoddy and kind of bordering on contemptuous of the public.”
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