Dundalk Town Council will give a civic reception in honour of Eilish Byrne, the Dundalk-born equestrian who won a medal in the recent London 2012 Paralympic Games.
The reception will take place tomorrow evening - Wednesday - at 6pm in the council chambers of the Town Hall in Crowe Street.
At last week’s meeting of the town council, Town Clerk Mr Frank Pentony said there had been a lot of nonesense in the media recently about a civic reception or lack of one for the equestrian star.
Mr Pentony said a civic reception is the highest honour the council can bestow on a group or individual.
It is given by the town council on behalf of the people of the town and it is not something that is handed out lightly.
It is an important function of the council and therefore the officials and elected members of the council take it very seriously.
The council’s protocol for awarding civic honours states that a civic reception will be afforded to groups or individuals in recognition of their outstanding achievement in representing the town nationally or internationally.
Our equestrian hero Eilish Byrne, a native of Dublin Street, certainly did that.
She was one of our 16 medal winners at the London Paralympics when Ireland won eight golds, three silvers and five bronze at the games, far surpassing the target of five medals.
Eilish’s equestrian success was a bittersweert victory. She narrowly missed out on an individual bronze in the Equestrian Individual Freestyle Test.
Eilsih, on her horse Youri, recorded a personal best score in her favoured event of 75.25 and it looked like being good enough for bronze right until the end.
Unfortunately she was pipped at the post by the last rider.
Eilish now lives in Arklow where she is based with her trainer Niall Quirke. Eilish, who was born with spina bifida, has never allowed her disability to stop her from enjoying life to the fullest. Eilish has backpacked through the USA, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa and has bungee jumped and scuba dived in all these countries - she has done cave exploring, and many other activities which many able bodied people would find daunting.
Second of five children, Eilish’s family never considered her as “disabled” and she kept up with them all - joining in all the family activities including swimming all day long on summer holidays at Carlingford Lough.
Her parents Peadar and Nora Bryne have always been there to support Eilish.