Published Tuesday, 04 September 2012
Michael McKillop came first in the T37 1500m. (© Getty)
The 22-year-old, who has been dubbed Michael the Magnificent, clinched the T37 1500m title in a thrilling final on Monday night with a time of four minutes 8.11 seconds.
Setting a new Paralympic record, he was more than six seconds ahead of Australia's Brad Scott when he crossed the finish line, giving a big wave to all his supporters as he did so.
The minister described his performance as "another tremendous and magnificent achievement."
"Paralympic medals are not won easily but Michael made it look effortless as he crossed the finish line. Just like the Olympic Games the Paralympic Games have captured the imagination."
Prior to the race, the Team Ireland world record breaker had a season's best of more than 20 seconds faster than his closest rival.
The minister continued: "Over the last few days we have all gained so much enjoyment and optimism from watching the Paralympic athletes compete in all the disciplines.
"Well done to Michael the Magnificent and all the local athletes who are certainly giving it their all and going for gold."
Ms Ní Chuilín also had praise for Holywood golfer Rory McIlroy, who won the Deutsche Bank Championship by only one stroke at TPC Boston in Norton, Massachusetts on Monday.
This was the latest win for the 23-year-old who won the PGA Championship by a record eight strokes three weeks ago.
"Last night was also a great night for Rory McIlroy, winning the Deutsche Bank Championship in Boston thus maintaining his position as the best golfer in the world.
"Our sporting heroes are an inspiration to us all."
Meanwhile, president Michael D Higgins also had warm words of praise for Michael McKillop.
"It is heartening to see an athlete so clearly enjoying himself and demonstrating such warmth towards his fellow athletes and competitors," he said.
"All of Team Ireland's athletes gave exceptional performances yesterday. I would like to wish them all the very best of luck over the coming days."