Laois County Council group refuses to give star Paralymic swimmer Nicole Turner top honour

Portarlington county councillors angry and call for a rethink

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Nicole Turner.

Nicole Turner carrying the flag for Ireland at the closing ceremony.

A request that a Portarlington athlete who reached five finals in Rio receive the highest honour Laois County Council has been refused.

Ace swimmer Nicole Turner was one of the stand out athletes for Ireland at the Rio Paralympics. While she did not win a medal, she flew the flag proudly for Portarlington and Ireland at the games in Brazil last summer.

Nicole made it to all five finals of the events she competed in. She was also chosen to carry the Irish tricolour a the closing ceremony.

Speaking at a Portarlington/Graiguecullen Municipal District meeting, Cllr Aidan Mullins said he had been told that the Council’s Corporate Policy Group (CPG) had recommended that the Municipal District itself should host the reception for Nicole, who was the youngest member of the Irish team.

Cllr Mullins was angry that the council would not grant an honour which had recently been granted to Laois TD and Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan.

“I do not accept that. It’s disgraceful. I am not accepting that answer,” said the Sinn Féin councillor.

On Cllr Mullins’ suggestion, it was agreed to refer the matter back to the CPG which includes senior county council officials and chosen county councillors and makes many of the big decisions at the local authority.

Last year Portlaoise Municipal District honoured Aussie Rules star and Portlaoise Gaelic footballer Zach Tuohy.