Bill to pave way for State to support Rugby World Cup bid

Shane Ross to bring emergency legislation granting him ability to back tournament company

Viewed over 400,000 times online, Brian O'Driscoll, Bernard Brogan, Phillip Matthews and Paul O'Connell go viral as they showcase some of Ireland's most famous sporting venues as part of the Rugby World Cup 2023 bid. Video: IRFU

 

An emergency Bill will be brought before the Dáil this week to ensure Ireland can submit a secure bid to host the Rugby World Cup in 2023.

Minister for Sport Shane Ross will bring the legislation to the Dáil on Tuesday.

The Rugby World Cup 2023 Bill would allow the Minister to support the bid, and the staging of the tournament.

Specifically the Bill would grant the Minister the statutory authority to acquire shares in, and financially support, a tournament company.

Such support would essentially allow the State to underwrite the financing, include a guarantee for the tournament budget, and advance funds to the tournament company.

The legislation has been rushed to the drafting stages to ensure it will be passed before the Dáil’s summer recess later this month.

The Bill also provides powers to support the acquisition of commercial rights, to pay the tournament fee, and to give undertakings for the support of public services in the staging of the tournament.

The need for emergency legislation was flagged by the former attorney general Máire Whelan who advised that the Government would not be in a position to provide specific guarantees to support the bid, without legislative backing.

The guarantees are sought by the company which is responsible for the Rugby World Cup, which is based in Dublin.

Three countries are in the running for the event. The other two are France and South Africa, both of which have previously hosted the event.

The Government has been warned that the guarantees must be in place as soon as possible so as not to jeopardise the Irish bid.

The bid committee, includes former Ireland players Brian O’Driscoll and Hugo MacNeill. Estimates of how much hosting the competition would be worth to the Irish economy have ranged from €800 million-€2 billion.