14/10/2005

Sports Ministers discuss Olympic Games benefits

The Sports Ministers from either side of the border have met in Dublin to discuss the potential benefits of the 2012 Olympic Games which are being held in London.

David Hanson and Irish counterpart John O'Donoghue agreed there were tremendous opportunities for both Northern Ireland and the Republic to benefit from the London Games.

"The existing close working relationships which exist both at Departmental and Sports Council levels, will provide a solid basis from which to go forward," Mr Hanson said.

Minister O'Donoghue added: "London hosting the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics offers tremendous potential and that the attraction of Ireland to overseas team/s participating in the Games for acclimatisation and preparation purposes is an area on which our sports councils could co-operate."

Also discussed was the Northern Ireland Sports Strategy which is due to be published in 2006.

Meanwhile, the man behind Britain's Gold Coast training camps for Sydney 2000, has said that Northern Ireland had already realised the potential economic and social benefits of the Games.

Mick Aitken said that while football was the only event likely to take place in Northern Ireland in 2012, provided the new stadium at the former Maze Prison goes ahead, the country could still play host to teams in the build-up to the world's biggest sporting event.

(MB/SP)

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