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Special Olympics

Volume 404: debated on Thursday 8 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what measures are being taken by the Northern Ireland Office to mark the arrival of the Special Olympics Torch in Bangor, County Down on 13 June. [110940]

The Special Olympics Torch 'Flame of Hope' will arrive in Bangor County Down on 13 June 2003 before being carried to Dublin for the opening ceremony of the 2003 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Croke Park, Dublin on June 21. The Royal Navy has agreed to bring the Olympic Flame across from Scotland to Bangor on the morning of 13 June to commence the ceremonies throughout Ireland prior to the Opening Ceremony.

A RAF helicopter will lift the Flame and the appointed guardian of the Flame from the deck of the designated ship onto the Central Pier at Bangor Marina. The Flame will pass through the hands of 100+ International Law Enforcement Officers who will include officers from the Police Service NI and the Garda Siochana and will be presented to two local Special Olympic athletes.

The Bands of the Royal Irish Regiment will provide music. There will also be a parade of local school children. Arrangements for the reception including ceremonies and speeches have yet to be finalised.