Minister of State for Sport and Tourism emphasises "respect" for McIlroy Olympics withdrawal

However, Patrick O'Donovan TD did express disappointment

Patrick O'Donovan

Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Patrick O'Donovan TD ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

The Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Patrick O’Donovan TD has spoken of his disappointment at Rory McIlroy's withdrawal from Olympics consideration but emphasised that he respects the golfer's decision.

McIlroy confirmed that he will not be participating at Rio 2016 due to fears over the Zika virus.

In a statement, Minister O'Donovan reacted to the news of the Northern Irish golfer's decision.

"While I understand Rory’s decision, I have to say that it is disappointing that Rory will not be representing Ireland at the Olympics in Rio. I fully respect his decision. The Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) and their medical team have taken their lead from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on the zika situation, as they do in all matters," said Minister O’Donovan.

"I am aware that the Health Protection Surveillance Centre and the Department of Foreign Affairs have also been liaising with the OCI concerning the Rio Games. The International Olympic Committee has provided the OCI with every assurance and the OCI has indicated its confidence that the Rio Games will be safe for all athletes. This is an important year for Irish sport, and I want to wish all the athletes who are travelling to the Olympic and Paralympic Games the very best of luck."