President McAleese and Pat Hickey visit 2012 Olympic Park

March 2, 2010

A plan for the Olympic Torch to travel between Belfast and Dublin is set to be discussed despite the international leg of the relay being banned because of the demonstrations that marred the event when it travelled around the world in the build-up to the Beijing Games in 2009.

But, London 2012 organisers are set to ask for a special dispensation from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) so that Ireland can be included in their Torch Relay.

Patrick Hickey, the President of the Olympic Council of Ireland and a member of the IOC, is backing the plan.

He said: “We think that there would be phenomenal interest in that; to celebrate the peace that now exists.”

London 2012 are planning a massive nationwide Torch Relay around the United Kingdom and will ask the IOC that they are allowed to include Ireland as the OCI represents the whole of the island, not just the Republic.

Hickey, who is also the President of European Olympic Committees, said that officials from London 2012 are due to travel to Dublin shortly to discuss the plans in more detail.

He revealed details of the plan during a visit today to the Olympic Park in London with Ireland’s President Mary McAleese and her husband Martin to inspect the facilities, the building of which are helping boost the Irish economy.

She described the work already done as “spectacular” and said “Ten per cent (900) of the workforce (9000) here are Irish, and they are involved in everything: from lifting the blocks all the way through to major architectural projects.

“So that is very good news.

“I was talking to one contractor who is bringing in cladding just north of Dublin, so that is a very good example of work being generated back in Ireland.”

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