Published Sunday, 12 August 2012
Minister Ní Chuilín congratulates Paddy Barnes on his bronze. (© Pacemaker)
She described the games as "a tremendous success."
"We have had the largest team of local athletes ever competing and while we are proud that five medals have been won, the spirit of the games is as much about competing as it is about winning."
The Sinn Féin minister said that many had been "inspired by the courage and dedication shown by all of our athletes."
"Over the last 16 days, we have watched many hard-fought and exciting battles, lots of trials and tribulations and pain and endurance to the finishing line."
Ms Ní Chuilín said that she "very much appreciated the diversity of the games."
She added: "We had our first competitors in table tennis, canoeing, our first female representative in judo and our first male triathlete.
"With more women competing than before and a larger range of sports we have tangible proof that progress is being made on the equality agenda in sport."
The minister said that Northern Ireland had used the London 2012 Games "to provide cultural and business opportunities" through the Torch Relay and the involvement of volunteers and local communities.
Ms Ní Chuilín continued saying that young people now must be inspired to engage in sport - and to ensure that the facilities are available for them.
"For this reason over £10m is being invested in the Sport Matters Community Capital Programme over the four year period 2011/2012 to 2012/15.
"This programme is already delivering facilities at community level, in both urban and rural settings and for a wide range of sports, with the aim of encouraging the participation in sport and physical recreation, by people who have not been engaged before."
The minister also paid tribute to the visiting athletes who spent time here at pre-games training camps.
© UTV News