At the peak of the troubles in Northern Ireland there was one man who was able to unite the North and the South and differences were put aside, and that was Former World Champion Featherweight boxer Barry McGuigan, now a part of the Sky Sports commentary team. McGuigan’s influence was something that gave the peace process hope and was a huge responsibility on such young shoulders.
Therefore the snubbing of McGuigan on the Olympic torch relay through Ireland has caused a great deal of angst on both sides of the border, with former Sports Minister Ulster-born Kate Hooey coming out and voicing her disappointment.
As mentioned previously it would appear that the organisers went for marketability over merit, as pop twins Jedward who are probably better known for their blonde quiffs than their musical prowess, were given the honour of carrying the Olympic flame to the border. Being aged twenty one wonders if either realised just what the people of Norther Ireland went through and the importance of such an event, something that would not have been lost with McGuigan.
Sometimes sentiment has to win out over publicity, and we believe the torch relay should be about giving in the main, the common man and woman who work tirelessly for worthy causes their fifteen minutes in the spotlight. It is our chance to acknowledge their efforts in our communities; it is not to be highjacked by popstars, actors and egotistical administrators. Sure many sports stars have had more than their fifteen minutes in the spotlight, but many have also had a massive impact on the community, and McGuigan definitely fits that bill and also as an Olympic Gold medal winner has more than a case to have been rewarded with such an honour.