Joe McCarthy backs “Lots of Socks” for World Down Syndrome Day


Professional rugby player Joe McCarthy is backing Down Syndrome Ireland’s “Lots of Socks” campaign for World Down Syndrome Day.
The Leinster and Ireland lock, breakout star of the current Six Nations tournament, helped launch the campaign with a photoshoot in Dublin, alongside brothers Andrew and Paddy.
The campaign calls on workplaces, schools and the broader public to don their most colourful socks in support of people with Down syndrome, this World Down Syndrome Day (March 21st).
The McCarthy brothers won the public’s hearts when Joe presented Andrew, who has Down syndrome, with his player-of-the-match medal after Ireland’s Six Nations opener in Marseille.
Together with younger brother Paddy, who has been capped for Ireland at Under-20 level, Joe and Andrew joined Down Syndrome Ireland staff in Dublin to launch the campaign, which aims to challenge stereotypes and promote the potential of people with Down syndrome.
Ireland lock Joe McCarthy said: “I’m delighted to support the Lots of Socks campaign, especially with Andrew and Paddy alongside me. I love the national reach of the campaign. It can be schools, workplaces, wherever, it’s such a simple thing, to host a coffee morning, lash on some colourful socks if you can, and raise money for a brilliant cause. It doesn’t need a huge amount of organising, and it gives people with Down syndrome a day in the sun, which they thoroughly deserve”.
With Ireland’s Six Nations challenge ongoing, Joe took time out to launch the Lots of Socks campaign in tribute to the achievements of his brother Andrew and others with Down syndrome.
“People with Down syndrome have come so far in recent years”, Joe noted. “It’s great to see so many people with Down syndrome in employment, playing sports – like Andrew does with Seapoint Dragons tag rugby team – and just showing what they can do. World Down Syndrome Day is a chance to celebrate all those achievements, and push society to take them further, to make sure everyone with Down syndrome can fulfil their potential. That’s something I’m hugely passionate about, and I’d love to see all fans of Irish rugby getting involved in Lots of Socks this year”.
Down Syndrome Ireland’s Head of Fundraising, John Ryan McLaughlin, added. “We’re so grateful to the lads for their support. I think seeing Joe’s bond with Andrew in Marseille really moved the entire nation, and it’s great for people with Down syndrome to have champions like Joe, people doing it at the highest level of international sport”.
“If people want to get involved with the campaign, they can visit our website,, and sign up for our Lots of Socks and Lots of Steps campaigns. It takes very little time and effort to organise, and the impact on people with Down syndrome and their families will be huge”, John concluded.
World Down Syndrome Day will be marked worldwide on March 21st. The global theme of this year’s events is “End the Stereotypes” – an appeal for equal opportunities and esteem for people with Down syndrome throughout the world.

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