Rugby World Cup blow is only the start: Ireland Inc may fail to land any of its targets

Along with the RWC, Ireland is also in the mix for the European Medicines Agency and the European Banking Authority

Rugby’s Webb Ellis Cup: unlikely to be handed out to the winners of the 2023 World Cup in any Irish stadium

Rugby’s Webb Ellis Cup: unlikely to be handed out to the winners of the 2023 World Cup in any Irish stadium

 

This week’s technical group report on Ireland’s bid for the 2023 Rugby World Cup was a bitter blow. On Monday, we were favourites in a three-horse race for what was expected to be a €1.5 billion windfall for the economy. By Tuesday, we were also-rans.

The final decision will not be taken until November 15th but even our renowned powers of persuasion are likely to be tested beyond breaking point in trying to claw back ground on France and, more importantly, South Africa when the final votes are cast.

The RWC decision is the first of three major wins that Ireland Inc is chasing. It is also in the mix for both the European Medicines Agency (EMA)and the European Banking Authority (EBA). But where we were favourites to land the blue riband of rugby, we are not nearly as clearly fancied to land either of the two major agencies being relocated from London as a result of the UK decision to vote itself out of the European Union.

MEP Brian Hayes this week insisted, however, that the State is firmly in the running for the EBA, stating that Ireland and Luxembourg were in pole position among eight candidate cities.

The consensus in Brussels had moved, he said, in favour of locating the agency in a smaller member state: initially, France and Germany had been considered the main contenders.

In keeping with the recent mood in Government, Hayes said nothing about the medicines regulator where Dublin is battling interest from 18 other cities. Initially the focus of our greatest lobbying effort, that trophy now appears to be out of reach.

Hayes called for intense lobbying over the next three weeks to try to close the deal on the banking authority. The Government and players in the banking, pharmaceutical and sporting sectors will not need any encouragement.

The terrible fear is that, after all the anticipation – and the investment in preparing bids for each project – we could lose out in three separate votes, each of which promises a significant positive impact on our economy.

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