Published Thursday, 14 March 2013
NI leaders Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness pictured in Brazil. (© Presseye)
It is the first time the 40m high famous landmark will be illuminated for the event, joining South Africa's Table Mountain, the London Eye and the White House fountains.
It was hoped both Northern Ireland's First and deputy First Ministers - who are in south America on a trade mission - would be in Brazil to witness the light show.
But it seems Martin McGuinness will be the sole representative from NI, as Peter Robinson jets off to LA instead.
His decision to abandon the Tourism Ireland Global Greening event in Rio has resulted in fierce criticism from the chair of the Enterprise, Trade and Investment Committee.
While the dFM is in Rio I will be undertaking investment related engagements in LA. Grow up guys.
SDLP MLA Patsy McGlone accused Mr Robinson of putting the DUP agenda ahead of the local tourism industry.
"Tourism is highlighted as a key growth industry and a priority sector by the Executive. Yet what does our First Minister do - flees and snubs this unique and iconic event to boost Ireland, north and south, as a prime tourism destination," he said.
"He has chosen not to support our tourism sector at a time when it needs support and positive promotion to recover the consequences of the image the lunatic flag protestors and their supporters sent around the world.
"Why is he putting party interest ahead of his duty as First Minister, snubbing an iconic Tourism Ireland event and letting our tourism industry down? Peter Robinson needs to start being a First Minister who works for all of the north," added Mr McGlone.
But Mr Robinson responded to the criticism on Twitter, telling those who had spoken out against him to "grow up".
He described Mr McGlone's finger pointing as "rubbish".
Meanwhile, it seems Mr McGuinness has had an eventful flight on his way to Rio, with stormy weather and lightening disrupting his travel.