Gala Retail Marks 10-Year Milestone with Special Olympics Ireland

Gala Retail Marks 10-Year Milestone with Special Olympics Ireland
John Reid, Reid’s Gala, Clonee and Gary Desmond, Chief Executive of Gala Retail pictured with Special Olympics Ireland athletes, Mary Kate Drake McPartlan, Brian McSweeney and Martha Power.

Gala Retail is celebrating a decade of partnership with Special Olympics Ireland. As a platinum sponsor, over the past ten years, Gala Retail has supported thousands of Special Olympics athletes, providing resources and helping to foster inclusion and celebration within its stores, local sports clubs and communities.

Special Olympics

This milestone celebration comes ahead of Special Olympics Ireland’s annual Bucket Collection, taking place nationwide on Friday, April 19th. Volunteers will be stationed at participating Gala stores across the country, rallying support and raising funds for Special Olympics Ireland to help them reach more people with an intellectual disability and offer them life changing opportunities through the power of sport.

Reflecting on a decade of partnership, Chief Executive of Gala Retail, Gary Desmond, comments: “Special Olympics Ireland is a truly special organisation that does incredible work on behalf of its athletes. With clubs in locations all across Ireland, Special Olympics has a place in the heart of many communities and with almost 230 group stores in towns and villages throughout Ireland, there’s a real synergy with this partnership.

1O Year Milestone

“As we celebrate our 10-year milestone, we are immensely proud of the impact we have made together in supporting athletes and their families across the country. From Ireland Games to three World Games, Polar Plunge and our Gala Gifts For Clubs Initiative, it has been great to look back on the remarkable achievements across the years, and we look forward to creating even more meaningful impact in the years ahead.”

CEO of Special Olympics Ireland, Matt English, adds: “For 10 years now, Gala Retail has remained a steadfast and superb partner to Special Olympics. Their community values go hand in hand with the grassroots nature of Special Olympics. Both organisations play a huge part in communities across the country. This partnership especially comes to life during the World Games, seeing thousands of family members decked out in the Team Ireland green thanks to Gala Retail as they cheer on their loved ones is an incredible spectacle.

“But it’s not just about the big events, Gala’s Gifts for Clubs gives regular cash prizes to clubs so they can invest in their members and make plans to grow the club in their local areas. We look forward to building on this partnership and bringing more value to our special athletes and their clubs across the country.”


Since the partnership began, Gala Retail has helped transform athletes lives through sport in countless ways. Among the highlights of the partnership include Gala’s provision of essential support to families traveling with Team Ireland athletes to three World Games – over 900 family members have attended World Games in this time to support Team Ireland. The launch of the ‘Gala Gifts For Clubs Initiative’ has seen clubs across Ireland receive funding, enabling them to thrive both on and off the field, and in 2021, Gala became the main sponsor of Special Olympics Polar Plunge, which calls on supporters to ‘Get Freezin for a Reason’ and has raised over €65,000 since Gala Retail became the title sponsor.

Supporting almost 8,000 athletes across Ireland, Special Olympics Ireland Bucket Collection will take place Nationwide on Friday 19th April, with collections in Dublin City Centre and Belfast City Centre on Thursday 18th April.  Supporters can donate online at or on revolut.

Special Olympics Ireland athletes, Martha Power, Brian McSweeney and Mary Kate Drake McPartlan pictured with Gary Desmond, Chief Executive of Gala Retail