Government to consider rugby world cup bid

Varadkar to brief colleagues

 Leo Varadkar   will speak today at a conference in Dublin organised by the International Rugby Board on the topic of “Winning Bids and Delivering Outstanding Rugby Events.” Photograph: Eric Luke

Leo Varadkar will speak today at a conference in Dublin organised by the International Rugby Board on the topic of “Winning Bids and Delivering Outstanding Rugby Events.” Photograph: Eric Luke

Mon, Nov 18, 2013, 01:00

Plans for a joint North-South bid to hold the 2023 rugby world cup in Ireland are due to be unveiled to the Cabinet on Tuesday.

An information memo from Minister for Sport Leo Varadkar on the world cup bid is on the agenda for discussion at the weekly Cabinet meeting.

Government sources said on Sunday an independent study conducted by Deloitte had shown that around €800 million would be injected into the Irish economy by an extra 377,000 visitors in 2023 if the bid is successful.

Mr Varadkar’s strong opposition to plans to ban the sponsorship of sport by drinks companies has been prompted by the threat this would pose to the world cup bid.

Ireland faces competition from South Africa and possibly from Russia or a US-Canada joint bid for the right to host the competition.

The next finals will take place in England in 2015 and the one after that will be held in Japan in 2019.

“It is the northern hemisphere’s turn in 2023 and we are determined to put in a strong bid for it to be held on the island of Ireland,” said a Government source.

The decision of the GAA at its last congress to make its grounds available for the rugby world cup has given a huge boost to the bid.

The major rugby venues such as the Aviva, the RDS, Thomond Park and Ravenhill would not be enough to host an event like the world cup but the addition of GAA stadiums has made it feasible.

“Not only can the GAA provide the magnificent Croke Park but places like Semple Stadium in Thurles, the beautiful Fitzgerald stadium in Killarney and McHale Park in Castlebar mean that a range of venues of different sizes is available,” said the Government source.

He also said that a key element of the bid was that it would have the support of the Northern Executive as well as the Government in Dublin.

“It is eminently feasible to hold the event on the island of Ireland. We have easily enough hotel accommodation and the transport infrastructure is first class.

“Some work needs to be done to bring all the stadiums up to the required standard but that can be achieved without too much difficulty and the rewards will be vastly in excess of the outlay required,” he added.

Mr Varadkar will speak today at a conference in Dublin organised by the International Rugby Board on the topic of “Winning Bids and Delivering Outstanding Rugby Events.”

He is expected to make a pitch to the international audience about why Ireland is the most suitable venue for the 2023 event.

Among the speakers is Debbie Jevans, who was director of sport at last year’s London Olympics and now leads the organising committee for the rugby world cup in England in 2015.