24 years ago today – the founding of Irish Blind Sports

Irish BlindSports was conceived that historic November

On Saturday 26th November 1988 almost 30 sports enthusiasts gathered at the North Star Hotel for an open meeting chaired by Liam Nolan. The rest is history.

It was Jimmy Gallagher who made the call to writer and broadcaster Liam Nolan.

At the time Liam was Chief Executive of the Olympic Council of Ireland. In earlier years Liam Nolan was a BBC radio boxing and athletics commentator who crossed over to radio prime time current affairs. He also worked on British TV before moving home to Ireland in the late ‘60s.

From RTE’s Henry St. Studios Liam hosted a daily programme the Liam Nolan Hour – which lasted almost two hours – before Liam renamed it Here and Now.

Liam’s daily show was the first personality driven programme of its kind in Ireland and set the stage later for Gay Byrne, Marian Finucane, Tubridy Kenny and so on.

It was on Liam’s radio programme, that Paralympics in Ireland got a major boost. Liam took to interviewing Mayo’s Rosaline Gallagher, who went on to win gold at wheelchair 60m in the 1972 Games in Heidelberg.

As the trains droned overhead at that North Star meeting 21 years ago Liam pulled a rabbit out of the hat!

He introduced his brother John to the gathering and told us there and then, John could direct us.

John had set up Ireland’s first company formation enterprise many moons earlier and, therefore, knew all there is to know on how to set up a non-profit making sports organization/company.

The die was cast. No looking back. An 11 person steering committee was formed there and then.

Irish BlindSports was conceived that historic November evening. The labour pains were massive as each person on the steering committee tried desperately to find the perfect solution. In fairness, while it was not the easiest birth, most of the structure which emerged has lasted the test of time.

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