Tour de Munster 2013 gives a ‘helping hand’ to Down Syndrome Ireland

Tour de Munster 2013 gives a ‘helping hand’ to Down Syndrome Ireland

There were smiles all round on Saturday as Tour de Munster, the annual four day charity cycle which sees amateur cyclists cycling over 600km around the six counties of Munster, announced Down Syndrome Ireland (DSI) as its chosen beneficiary of this year’s cycle.  It’s an unprecedented 4th year that this national charity has been the beneficiary of Tour de Munster which takes place from Thursday 8th to Sunday 11th August 2013.

Having raised a staggering €850,000 over the past three years for DSI (Munster branches), Tour de Munster has developed  close ties with DSI, including many parents and friends participating in the cycle, everyone is hoping to break the €1 million mark raised in total – against a very challenging economic drop back.

DSI Fundraiser Jude O’Keeffe, who as well as organizing the scores of volunteer bucket collectors and many of the cyclists, also cycles the grueling 600km and is delighted that DSI has been chosen for the fourth time in a row.

Jude said “To be picked as Tour de Munster’s chosen beneficiary even once is fantastic, but this will be the fourth time now and it’s absolutely amazing to receive this huge level of support. Last year, Tour De Munster 2012 reached the exceptional goal of €300,000, living up to the success of the last few years. The funds have made all the difference to the lives of people with Down syndrome in Munster as well as their friends and families by providing vital services and facilities in each county.  In addition to the funds we have made friends for life through the cycle and it’s been a brilliant platform to communicate why funds are so desperately needed for our children.”

 Jude went on to say: “Our goal in DSI is to assist children born with Down syndrome to be as independent as possible. To achieve this, it is imperative that when they are young they have access to speech therapy and occupational therapy and as they grow older we want to help them with other areas of their lives such as independent living and employment opportunities. The objective is to ensure that each individual is developed to his/her full potential and to help people with Down syndrome make their own futures as bright and independent as possible. This all requires a lot of funding however, and through the great work of the Tour de Munster cyclists, more young people with Down syndrome will be helped in a practical way.”

 Tour de Munster organiser Paul Sheridan is already in training for the event and is looking forward to it. Paul said “Down Syndrome Ireland is an asset to the Tour, as over the last three years we have received a huge amount of support from both the charity and families themselves who will benefit from the event. We could not have reached our mammoth results without their help and support. We are reminded each time we meet these wonderful children that we are working towards a very worthy cause. As Down Syndrome Ireland’s iconic ‘helping hands’ logo suggests, we all have a chance to lend a helping hand through the Tour’s fundraising effort, and we are deeply committed to supporting them by helping to raise funds for vital therapy and training.”

Paul also thanked everyone who has got behind Tour de Munster in the 12 years it has been in existence.  “We are very grateful to the many companies who’ve already supported the Tour, both old and new.  We are now relying on input from the public for a repeat of the incredible generosity we have received over the past twelve years. The DSI slogan is “Share the Journey” and a lot of supporters do just that both directly and indirectly.”

This year’s Tour de Munster begins on Thursday 8th and continues over four days until Sunday 11th August 2013. For up to date information and developments on the Tour please log onto or you can follow the Tour on twitter @tourdemunster.  For further information on Down Syndrome Ireland please see


Some Background on the Tour De MunsterNow in its 13th year, the Tour de Munster is four-day 600km charity cycle which takes participants on a very demanding route through all the counties of Munster. Participants collect individual sponsorship and the Tour is accompanied by volunteers who hope to leverage the event with collections in the cities, towns and villages along the route.Everyone participating in the event covers their own costs so that all funds raised through the 2013 event will go directly to the six branches of Down Syndrome Ireland in Munster.

Some Background on Down Syndrome IrelandDown Syndrome Ireland is an organisation of people with Down Syndrome and their parents and guardians which was established in 1971.  It has over 3,000 member families with 25 branches nationwide and is funded by voluntary contributions and events organised by its members. It is the biggest single group concerned with the welfare of people with a learning disability in Ireland. The principal aims of the association are as follows:-o To provide a counselling service and information to parents and guardians of persons with Down syndrome, especially those with new-born babies. o To ensure that proper and appropriate educational facilities are available to children with Down syndrome, with the realistic option of attending mainstream national schools. o To promote research into the causes of Down syndrome, and to keep parents informed of developments taking place at home and abroad for the advancement and care of people with Down syndrome. o To liaise with the Departments of Health and Children; Social, Community and Family Affairs; Education and Science; and Enterprise, Trade and Employment; and with other relevant authorities and national organisations. o To provide a forum where parents and guardians can meet and exchange views and ideas. o To establish a system of advocacy and guardianship for adults and children with Down syndrome who have lost their parents. o The ultimate objective is the integration of people with Down syndrome into the community with full citizen’s rights as laid down in European Union directives and the United Nations charter.

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