Home News Community In Pictures: Paralympic hero Gary O’Reilly honoured by Laois County Council

In Pictures: Paralympic hero Gary O’Reilly honoured by Laois County Council

Gary O'Reilly, Paralympic Bronze Medal Winner, pictured with his Fiance, Hazel Westman, parents Hilda and Anthony and Amy, Aaron, Grannnny Kathleen and Stephen, at the Reception in his honour at County Hall. Photo: Michael Scully - no reproduction fee.

The Paralympic success of Portlaoise’s Gary O’Reilly was an incredible moment in 2021 and he was formally honoured by Laois County Council on Thursday night.

Joined by family members and friends, O’Reilly was the focal point of a reception in the council chamber hosted by Cathaoirleach Conor Bergin where his achievements were acknowledged by the local authority.

O’Reilly won a bronze medal at last year’s Paralympic Games in Tokyo and was treated to a hero’s reception when he returned home.

And with Covid restrictions now eased, council events are now possible again for those that achieve greatly as the Portlaoise man did last year.

Gary hadn’t really been into sport in a big way when he was younger but a workplace accident in 2014 when he fell from a forklift shattered three vertebrae in his back left him paralysed from the waist down.

O’Reilly had rods placed in his back to take the pressure off his spinal cord and then spent the next year doing extensive rehab and physiotherapy – starting with the very basic skill of learning to walk again.

After a while he began handcycling, at first for the simple enjoyment of it. But as time went on he got much more serious about it, culminating with last year’s Paralympic experience.

You can check out a selection of images from the council event, taken by photographer Michael Scully.

 

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