Northern Ireland

Olympic Torch to visit Dublin in run-up to London 2012 Games

The London 2012 Olympic Torch
Image caption The London 2012 Olympic Torch is to cross the Irish border and visit Dublin

The Olympic Torch is to visit Dublin in the run-up to the London 2012 Games, it has been confirmed.

Last month, the games organisers Locog set out the 1,018 places the torch will pass through when it is carried around the UK from 19 May to 27 July 2012.

Dublin is to be the torch's only detour outside of the UK in the lead-up to the Games.

It will be brought there on the morning of 6 June.

The visit was ratified by the International Olympic Committee at its executive board meeting in Lausanne on Thursday.

Locog said the visit to Dublin had been arranged "to shine a light on the rich heritage and sporting ambitions of Ireland, north and south".

It said proceedings would culminate in a mid-morning celebration event at a city-centre location.

Further details are to be confirmed next year.

Locog chair Lord Coe said: "We are delighted to be taking the Olympic Flame to Dublin on the morning of 6 June.

"This is an historic opportunity to showcase the wealth of sporting talent from across the Republic of Ireland ahead of the competition at the London 2012 Olympic Games."

'Iconic symbol'

Jeremy Hunt, secretary of state for culture, olympics, media and sport, said: "The Republic of Ireland is the only country outside the UK to be visited by the torch and rightly so, given the unique and deep ties between Ireland and the UK.

"I'm sure the Olympic Flame will receive a warm and rapturous welcome in Dublin."

Caral Ni Chuilin, sports minister for Northern Ireland, said the Olympic Flame was an "iconic symbol of coming together in friendship to compete through sport".

"It is a flame which I think has the ability to inspire our young people to get involved in sport and I want everyone to be inspired by its history and purpose," she said.

Michael Ring, the sports minister in the Republic of Ireland, said he was delighted that the flame would be visiting the country.

"A number of international teams have already chosen Dublin as a training base before the London Games," he said.

"The visit of the Olympic Flame next year will be a wonderful opportunity for the whole of Ireland to be even more closely involved with the 2012 London Olympic Games and for Irish people to be part of the biggest sporting event in the world."

Locog has said the torch will come within 10 miles of 95% of the UK population.

It will go through every English county and every local authority area in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

While the communities and landmarks the torch will visit have been set out, the street-by-street details of the route will not be confirmed until later in 2012.

The flame arrives in Belfast on 3 June 2012 with relay runners carrying it to more than 60 towns and villages as well as a number of beauty spots.

It emerged on Thursday that 6,800 of the 8,000 people who will carry the Olympic Flame are being offered torchbearer roles via email.

About 37,000 people applied for the role through the Olympic organisers, Locog, with 28,000 making it through to selection by regional panels.

Other runners on the relay, covering 8,000 miles around the UK will take places from sponsors.

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