It was a proud moment for Katie-George Dunlevy, the double gold winner at the Paralympic Games in Rio on Wednesday last when she was part of the Ireland team to receive a Presidential Reception from President Michael D. Higgins and his wife Sabina at Áras an Uachtaráin.
Katie-George, who has Mountcharles connections, was delighted to meet President Higgins and his wife Sabina. It was the first time Katie-George and her pilot Eve McCrystal got together since their return from Rio and no better occasion for such a reunion.
President Michael D. Higgins and his wife Sabina kindly hosted a reception at Áras an Uachtárain for the team and all the support staff to celebrate their achievements at the Games.
After an individual meet and greet with each member of the team and staff, the President addressed the assembled audience, which included Ministers Shane Ross T.D. and Patrick O’Donovan T.D. alongside Chief Executive of Sport Ireland, John Treacy.
“On behalf of everyone who loves sport, everyone who followed with great pride and interest your sporting endeavours in Rio, I am delighted to welcome you to Áras an Uachtaráin this afternoon, to this celebration of your efforts and achievements at the second-largest sporting event in the world, the Paralympic Games.
“All of you athletes in this room know more than anyone else that in sport there is never certainty about the outcome, there are no certain winners, but there are always courageous and committed athletes.
“We in Ireland are proud of you and are very grateful to you for going the distance of your training and participation, making so many sacrifices, to be the very best, and to be Ireland’s best."
Speaking to the Donegal Democrat, well known member of the Donegal Association Tony Dunlevy (an uncle of Katie-George) said, “Both Katie and Eve were totally delighted and to be honest never expected such recognition from the highest person in the land.
“Since Rio it has been hectic - the girls are finally getting the recognition they deserve after all their years of hard work.
“Eve had brought along her daughter Eva and after being entertained by the President and his wife, the girls got a good opportunity to have a good look around the beautiful building and gardens.
“It has been a memorable occasion for both them with the added bonus of being awarded the Irish Times/Sports Ireland Sportswoman of the month - an added incentive for Katie to do it all again.”