STORMONT PLANS TO HONOUR OUR HEROES

Northern Ireland’s Olympic heroes are set to unite for a homecoming party.

The province is buoyant with Olympic fever following unprecedented success and plans are being drawn up to bring together athletes from Team GB and Team Ireland for a celebratory bash in their honour.

To celebrate the displays of the 19 athletes from Northern Ireland at the Games, plans for a homecoming party are already under way, although the details of when and where the event will take place are yet to be confirmed.

Sports Minister Carál Ní Chuilín said that the homecoming will mark the achievements of all local athletes at the Olympics as well as those participating in the forthcoming Paralympic Games.

“We should all be very proud of the tremendous talent and effort shown by all of our local Olympians to date and the Games continue to provide important successes for sport here,” she said.

“I plan to recognise the efforts of all our Olympic and Paralympic athletes from this part of Ireland on their return from the 2012 Games and have asked my officials to develop plans for a combined homecoming celebration.”

The deputy chair of Stormont’s culture, arts and leisure committee, William Irwin, said that he backed the joint venture.

“It’s something I would welcome,” the DUP man said.

“Northern Ireland athletes have been performing exceptionally well and if something could be arranged, at Stormont or in Belfast centre, I would be in favour of it.

“I think the Olympics have given everyone a lift and a public reception would be good for everyone,” he added. “I think it would be good to see something like that happen.”