First Minister the Rt. Hon. Peter D. Robinson MLA and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness MP, MLA were at Belfast City Airport today to welcome the arrival of the Olympic flame.
Also on hand to greet the flame was local Olympian Dame Mary Peters.
|Beth Stafford, Victoria Park PS, First Minister Peter Robinson, Olympian Dame Mary Peters, deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and Louis Cannet from St Josephs PS|
Speaking at a reception to mark the arrival of the flame to Northern Ireland, First Minister, Peter Robinson said: “We are privileged to welcome the flame to Northern Ireland and to witness its journey over the next five days, during which it will be carried by 400 torchbearers through cities, towns and villages, past many of our iconic landmarks, creating what promises to be a once in a lifetime spectacle for all to see.
“2012 is a great year for Northern Ireland. It really is our time and our place. Many events are taking place here this year, such as the Irish Open and along with the spectacular interest in the Titanic centenary, these star attractions are boosting the Executive’s drive to showcase all that is great about Northern Ireland in the run-up to Londonderry’s launch as the first UK City of Culture and our hosting of the World Police and Fire Games in 2013."
Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness said: “The Olympic and Paralympic Games are at the heart of sporting excellence, but the Games are also about much more than sport. The Olympic Torch relay is a visible demonstration of this.
"The all Ireland torch relay epitomises the values and spirit of the Olympics. The Olympics are a celebration of sport, culture and local heroes. It is great that we are playing our part in this celebration.
“However, underpinning the Games is a set of important values: respect, excellence and friendship. Our torchbearers are inspirational people who make a real difference to people and the communities around them.”