Progress on Ireland Rugby World Cup bid

Published Wednesday, 22 January 2014
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A working group has been set up by governments on both sides of the Irish border to lay the groundwork for a potential all-island bid to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

Progress on Ireland Rugby World Cup bid
Carál Ní Chulín and Arlene Foster meet their Dublin counterparts on the issue. (© Michael Cooper)

Ministers from Belfast and Dublin met in Armagh to discuss the now likely prospect of a joint pitch to stage the sport's showpiece event.

Stormont sports minister Carál Ní Chuilín and tourism minister Arlene Foster held talks with counterparts in the Republic's tourism and sports departments Leo Varadkar and Michael Ring.

Their agreed working group will be made up of the key bodies associated with preparing a bid and it will report back to both governments in a few months.

How to move forward in the process of submitting a formal application to host the tournament will then be decided.

Minister Ní Chuilín said a lot of work was needed to get to that position.

"The island of Ireland has a lot to offer the global rugby family and there would be a lot of benefits to be gained by hosting such a prestigious event," she said.

"The Executive is investing £110 million in upgrading stadia in Belfast which includes the redevelopment of Ravenhill.

"While we would have world class venues to host the Rugby World Cup, there is a lot of work required to get us into a position to make a successful bid."

Mr Varadkar said Ireland had what it took to stage a successful world cup.

"Minister Ring and I were delighted to meet with ministers Foster and Ní Chuilín to discuss the possibility of making a formal bid for the 2023 Rugby World Cup," he said.

"It was a very useful meeting and we have now agreed to set up a working group to draw up the road map for our bid.

"It's still very early days, but the four of us believe that Ireland has what it takes to host a cracking world cup."

Mrs Foster added: "Attracting major international events is a key element of the Northern Ireland's Programme for Government.

"As we already know, sport is an incredibly powerful sales tool that has the power to attract thousands of international visitors.

"Northern Ireland hosted the hugely successful Irish Open in 2012 and this year, La Grande Partenza or Big Start of the Giro d'Italia will take place in May.

"Hosting events such as this provides us with a tremendous opportunity to grow tourism, boost visitor spend, and stimulate the continued growth of the Northern Ireland economy."

Mr Ring said the Rugby World Cup was potentially the biggest sporting event Ireland could stage.

"An event of this scale will not only have a great benefit for rugby but will also raise the profile of what sport can do for the country," he said.

"We all witnessed the massive boost to the national mood that was provided by the London Olympics.

"The Rugby World Cup is probably the largest event we could ever host on our own on the island and I would hope it would have a similar impact here.

"Sport is a great unifier, it brings people together and large events like this can also bring about a great sense of pride."

© UTV News
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6 Comments
JJ in Belfast wrote (233 days ago):
@s magown My point is the article is about Rugby, its not about National Anthems or Flags. When this became news you just cant think of anything else to say like thats great for Ireland. Just thinking the negative thats what has us where we our today.
s magowan in belfast wrote (234 days ago):
JJ since when did the flag and National Anthem of NI become sectarian?.If that is the case then surely the playing of the ROI anthem and the flying of their flag at rugby matches played in Dublin could also be classed as sectarian.
HR in Middle East wrote (236 days ago):
Agreed. A united front is great to see. Fingers crossed!
JJ in Belfast wrote (236 days ago):
@s magowa There is always one who wishes to bring sectarianism into sport. Keep it out.
s magowa in belfast wrote (238 days ago):
Arlene,if the Irish team play a game at Ravenhill,which flag will be flown and what National Anthem will be played?
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