Addition of Paralympic Section to Schools Cross Country Competition

In 2016 Cllr Casserly approached South Dublin County Council about the possibility of including a Paralympic section to the Schools Cross Country Programme in an effort to give students with a disability an equal opportunity to qualify for competitions.

The project was piloted in schools across the county with huge interest from students with disabilities attending mainstream schools, to the delight of the Fine Gael councillor.

Cllr Casserly said: “The introduction of the Paralympic section has opened up so many doors for students & is a huge step towards total equality for children with disabilities.

She also praised South Dublin County Council Sports and Recreational Department on the success of the recent Schools Cross Country events, which she believes “broke the mould” by introducing a new category for Paralympic school going children.

Cllr Casserly’s own son, James, attends Scoil Áine in Lucan and is passionate about sports. The 10-year-old has Cerebral Palsy & Juvenile Arthritis and is determined to compete alongside his school friends.

Vicki & James cross country
Cllr Casserly with her son, James, & former Mayor Cllr Sarah Holland after the 2016 Schools Cross Country event in Lucan

“The addition of the Paralympic section means that James, along with other children who are interested in sports, have the opportunity to compete in the same way as their friends & peers.”

South Dublin’s Primary Schools Cross Country Programme has grown in recent years with 67 schools set to take part in the 2017 programme.

According to the council the Paralympic section has “developed & grown” since it was first introduced & there is currently a Paralympic section in three out of the four local cross country event venues – catering for Wheelchair users, those on walking frames, and those that are ambulant.

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