THURLES WINS BID TO BECOME IRELAND’S FIRST EUROPEAN TOWN OF SPORT
Thurles, Co Tipperary has been awarded the prestigious title of European Town of Sport for 2012, becoming the first town in Ireland to achieve such a designation.
Following a successful submission from Shannon Development, North Tipperary County Council, LIT Tipperary and North Tipperary Sports Partnership, a delegation from the European Capitals and Cities of Sport Federation (ACES) visited Thurles over the weekend on an inspection tour of the town’s top sports venues.
Speaking about the delegation’s visit, John Swanson, Vice President, ACES Europe said: “The inspection team were delighted to witness the huge range of sports offered to the people of Thurles, there truly is something for everyone to engage in and get active. The facilities that the inspection team saw were very impressive, particularly for a small town, and many a city would be proud to boast of such a portfolio.”
“We also noted the excellent local sports partnership working and the role it plays in promoting sport and the promotion of sport and physical activity at schools. We look forward to seeing representatives from Thurles European Town of Sport for 2012 at the awards ceremony in Brussels at the European Parliament on November 30th, ” Mr. Swanson added.
Welcoming the announcement, the Mayor of Thurles Cllr. John Kennedy said: “This is a major award for Thurles and is a great opportunity for us to highlight the tremendous work being carried out by local clubs, organisations, dedicated volunteers and agencies. The genuine passion and energy displayed during the formal presentations to the delegation and the subsequent visits to Semple Stadium, The Dome, Thurles Leisure Centre, the Ursuline Convent and Peake Villa’s grounds, is testimony to the great civic pride we have in the delivery of sports in our community.”
Highlighting the potential economic impact of the award for Thurles, Brian Keating, Shannon Development’s Regional Manager for Tipperary and Offaly said, “Sports tourism in the Shannon Region is worth an estimated €60 million annually to the economy benefiting a range of businesses from the accommodation sector, transport services, pubs and restaurants, right through to visitor attractions and sports facilities.”
“As the Regional Tourism Authority for the Shannon Region, Shannon Development will continue to work closely with North Tipperary County Council, LIT Tipperary and North Tipperary Sports Partnership to build upon this wonderful opportunity for Thurles European Town of Sport 2012, and to help secure additional sports tourism for the area.”
Speaking about the award, Matt Shortt, Thurles Town Manager said: “This award opens up huge potential in terms of benefits for the town, and it complements our efforts to promote Thurles as a sports, tourism and business destination. We know that other towns who have gained this status in the past have succeeded in attracting major sports events and new tourism business.”
Michéal Lowry, Mayor of Tipperary North commented; “Thurles has done all of Tipperary proud in becoming the first town in Ireland to achieve such an award. I look forward to a tremendous year in 2012”.
Commenting on the vital area of sports participation for all, Ciaran Lynch of LIT Tipperary said: “We must now develop a programme that generates a more positive image of the town as an enjoyable place to visit and which improves the opportunities for socially disadvantaged youth to engage in constructive sport.”
Thurles joins a select number of European towns designated as a European Town of Sport for 2012. Other towns already selected include: Atri, Finale Ligure, Savigano sul Rubicone & Valdengo in Italy, and Otura & Pont de Suert in Spain