Published Sunday, 02 September 2012
Jason Smyth and Michael McKillop show off their gold medals. (© Getty)
The athletes didn't just win gold at the London 2012 games on Saturday night - both set new world records.
Eglinton sprinter Jason Smyth is now the fastest Paralympian in the world after setting a new world record to retain his 100m title in London with a time of 10.46 seconds.
In a thrilling evening of sport, Co Antrim man Michael McKillop broke his own world record in the Men's 800m final to clinch gold with a time of 1:57.22.
Team Ireland has now achieved four golds in the Paralympic Games.
The first Irish gold was won on Friday night by 16-year-old Bethany Firth from Seaforde, Co Down, in the 100m backstroke division for athletes with intellectual disability.
The other gold medallist was 18-year-old amputee Darragh McDonald, from Wexford, who won his medal in the men's 400m freestyle swimming.
Minister Ní Chuilín said: "The 1st September certainly lived up to its billing as a super Saturday! Jason Smyth's 100m final was stunning as he smashed his own World Record for the second time in 24 hours with a time of 10.46. Incredible!
"His gold is truly deserved," she enthused.
"This was followed closely by another golden moment as Michael McKillop resolutely defended his six-year unbeaten record at Paralympic level in the 800m T37 and also beat the world record.
"In less than 48 hours, our golden paralympians, Bethany, Michael and Jason have proved they are the best - three golds is an astounding achievement.
"Once again I would like to congratulate all of the paralympians, both from Ireland and across the globe, taking part."
She concluded: "As I have said before, it takes hard work and dedication to reach the Paralympic finals, we are all proud of you."
Irish president Michael D Higgins said the country's medal winning Paralympians are a sign of the team's determination and wished all athletes every success in the upcoming competitions.
"I want to congratulate Team Ireland athletes, Jason Smyth, Michael McKillop and Darragh McDonald on their outstanding gold medal winning performances at the London Paralympics," the President said.
"These performances, following on the earlier success of Bethany Firth on Friday, are indicative of the overall determination and preparation of our team.
"I wish all our paralympian athletes every success over the coming days."
Taoiseach Enda Kenny led congratulations from the political ranks, describing the team as an inspiration.