Episode 19: Liam Harbison

Episode 19: Liam Harbison

This week Breifne is joined by the new director of the Sport Ireland Institute Liam Harbison. He talks about how his father’s love of sport didn’t fall far from the tree. A fall from a horse during a holiday in Hungary at 19 resulted in the loss of feeling below the neck for a few hours until the pain and feeling returned.

The experience created an interest in the role that sports plays in rehabilitation, this led him to take on the role of manager of the Irish Boccia team, without actually realising he’d done so. The unexpected qualification for the Paralympics saw the beginning of the High Performance programme which he led through to the World Paralympic Games in Sydney 2000, Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008.

Moving into the CEO of the organisation soon after the multiple medal performance in China, he was the Chef de Mission (Head of Delegation) for the London 2012 games where Ireland brought home 16 medals including 8 gold medals. He shares his memories of those achievements and the people who made it possible. He explains why Ireland will never host an Olympics or Paralympics as well as looking forward to his new role and the unique challenges that comes with that.

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(This interview was recorded before Liam started his new role)

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