Irish Sport HQ, National Sports Campus, Blanchardstown, Dublin 15
Approximately 100 Key stakeholders of Paralympics Ireland including athletes, Team officials, Board Members, NGB Representatives, Staff, Sponsors and partners.
About ParaIympics Ireland:
Paralympics Ireland is the National Paralympic Committee for Ireland with responsibility for preparing and coordinating the participation of Irish athletes at Paralympic Games and World/European Championships.
Our mission is:
“To lead elite Irish Paralympic Athletes with a disability to sustained competitive excellence and to inspire the nation of Ireland”
Paralympcis Ireland is an umbrella organisation with 20 consituent member NGB’s and sports. These include disability specific multisport NGB’s (the founding members) such as Cerebral Palsy Sport Ireland, Irish Blind Sports and Irish Wheelchair Association. Sport Specific NGB’s with sports on the Paralympic Games programme have joined the organisation over the last 10-15 years in growing numbers. Our current membership includes Cycling Ireland, Horse Sport Ireland, Canoeing Ireland, Irish Sailing Association, Rowing Ireland, Triathlon Ireland, Irish Table Tennis Association and Tennis Ireland.
The Open Evening was aimed to officially open our new permanent home at the National Sports Campus. We also wished to bring our stakeholders onto the site to view our specially commissioned wall graphics in the new building as well launch our preparation plans for the Irish Team for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
The event was timed to coincide with an EGM to elect the positions of President, Vice Presidents and Finance Officer to the Board for a four year term.
The event was coordinated by the staff team and with support from the NSCDA and Reach. The 3 main components of the event included a tour of Irish Sport HQ and our offices in particular, a reception, and the formal piece in the main conference room of the building.
The response to the wall graphics in our office was overwhelmingly positive. A timeline of Irish involvement in the Paralympic Games since 1960 adorns the main wall and is really the first initiative of the organisation to record the fine history and tradition of Irish Paralympic Sport. Other features of the wall graphics include member branding and a host of competitive imagery, particularly of the medal winners from the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
The reception provided an opportunity for our many stakeholders to catch-up since the highs of London 2012 and begin preparations for Rio 2016. We were delighted to welcome representatives from the Dept. of Transport, Tourism and Sport, the Irish Sports Council and current sponsors including Allianz, Cadbury, Moran Bewleys Hotel Group, McInerney Saunders and Expd8.
The formalities were led by President, James Gradwell, and was followed by a presentation on the future developments of the National Sports Campus by NSCDA Director of Operations, Dave Conway. The event concluded with CEO, Liam Harbison, outlining the extensive work carried out by the organisation in laying the foundations for sustained success of the Irish Team at Rio 2016. He highlighted the importance of reviewing all aspects of the organisation in year one of the cycle to ensure we remain fit for purpose to deliver optimum services to our member NGB’s, and ultimately Paralympic athletes. He completed his presentation with a stirring video on the development of the Games plan by the Rio 2016 Organising Committee.
The formalities concluded with a special recognition presentation to the outgoing Board members for outstanding service over their four year term.
What next for PI in 2013?
The focus for the Summer months returns to supporting athletes in competition as we begin the qualification journey to Rio 2016. Irish teams will compete at major Championships in a range of sports in the coming months. As the IPC are the International Federation for the Paralympic sports of athletics and swimming, Paralympics Ireland are responsible for the development, selection and coordination of the Irish teams at the IPC Athletics World Championships in Lyon in July and the IPC Swimming World Championships in Montreal in August. The teams for these events will be announced at a special event with team sponsor Allianz in mid July.
Irish Teams will also compete under the auspices of their own NGB at the following major events over the coming months:
- CPISRA Football 7-a-side Intercontinental Cup (Barcelona)
- UCI Paracycling Road World Championships (Canada)
- FEI Paraequestrian European Championships (Herning, Denmark)
- IPTTC Table Tennis European Championships (Lignano, Italy)
- IFDS World Sailing Championships (Kinsale, Cork)
- IPC Shooting European Championships (Alicante, Spain)
Paralympics Ireland will in early October be hosting the European Paralympic Committee General Assembly and Confernence in Dublin. It is a biennial event with representatives from approximately 50 European Paralympic Committees expected to attend.
….and for Rio 2016?
Planning for Rio 2016 is progressing ahead of schedule. Our first visit to Rio in March with the OCI has successfully identified a suitable holding camp base for the Irish teams and negotiations are on-going to formalise this with the local state government, the Irish Sports Council and the OCI.
Our planning for Rio is shaped by our Quadrennial Plan which has identified the key development areas for the organisation to develop and support Irish athletes looking to qualify and perform at the Games. In terms of direct preparation of athletes, this will commence with the announcement of our Paralympic panels in early 2014 and the commencement of our multisport team development camps programme in April next year. We will also announce key team appointments in 2014, including that of the Chef de Mission.
How the event went:
Overall, we were very pleased with the event. We wanted it to be an enjoyable evening without too much formality and allowing time for stakeholders to network. The feedback from our stakeholders has been very positive and highly complimentary to the set up of the new Irish Sport HQ.