Kenny, Varadkar to attend opening of Games
TAOISEACH ENDA Kenny and Minister for Sport Leo Varadkar will attend the Olympics opening ceremony this week, while Minister of State at the Department of Sport Michael Ring will attend during the second week of the Games.
Mr Kenny will visit the Irish athletes at their training base in Twickenham on Friday morning ahead of the opening ceremony that evening.
Separately, Mr Kenny’s meeting with US Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is expected to take place in the Irish Embassy in London on Friday afternoon. “The meeting was sought by Governor Romney’s representatives who contacted the Taoiseach’s office in the last number of days,” the Government spokesman said.
The duration of Mr Kenny’s stay in London has not been finalised. Mr Varadkar will attend the ceremony with Mr Kenny and will remain in London for a few days. He is scheduled to attend an Irish Olympics team function at the embassy.
Mr Varadkar will also attend a Gathering function, part of a year-long series of events billed as a global Irish “homecoming”, which the Government hopes will attract 325,000 extra visitors to Ireland.
The Minister’s spokesman said Mr Varadkar would do his bit to keep costs down by staying at the embassy and flying with a commercial airline.
He said the ministerial diaries had been organised to ensure there will only be one Irish sports Minister at the Olympics at any stage. Mr Varadkar and Mr Ring’s visits would not overlap and there would probably be a gap between them, he said.
Mr Ring said he would attend on August 7th, 8th and 9th. He said he would not stay in the Olympic village because it was “too expensive” and had found a hotel offering a “reasonable price”.
Mr Ring recently complimented Tourism Ireland on the launch of its “Escape the Madness” campaign in Britain. The €500,000 advertising campaign presents Ireland as a hassle-free holiday option to harassed Londoners during the Games. He described the promotional campaign as “great fun”.