Marking International Day of Persons with Disabilities in the European Parliament

Liam Aylward MEP for Ireland East and Member of the European Parliament Committee on Education, Youth and Sport was delighted to invite Special Olympics athletes from 7 countries to the European Parliament yesterday evening to share their experiences and give their perspective on social inclusion through sport and the internet.

Speaking at the event Mr Aylward highlighted the importance of social inclusion in sport, the role of volunteers and the lasting impression the 2003 Special Olympic Games had on Irish communities.

“As a former Minister for Youth and Sport in Ireland, I am well aware of the importance of sport in people’s life and it’s accessibility to everybody, regardless of age, gender or abilities.” 

“Sport has become a competence of the European Union under the Lisbon Treaty and we have a responsibility to ensure that the EU Sports Policy is a policy that promotes fundamental values for our society, such as tolerance, solidarity, respect and inclusion.”

“EU sports policy must continue to have a strong focus on volunteers and their efforts in bringing the benefits of sport into local communities and to all people, young and old.”  

Speaking on the new Parliament Report on the European Dimension in Sport, which Mr Aylward was involved in drafting, he stated:

“The European Parliament has always demonstrated a great support for the activities of Special Olympics having recently supported EU funding for the 2010 European Summer Games in Warsaw and the 2011 World Summer Games in Athens. These events were a huge success celebrating international inclusion and friendship and I am delighted that the Committee on Education, Culture and Sport has voted to continue its support of organisations such as Special Olympics”

The event was held to mark the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on December 3rd and was attended by Special Olympics athletes, their families and friends.