Dismay on Leeside at decision to pull out of Americas Cup bidding

Business and sailing interests in Cork say Cabinet move means a missed opportunity

The Cabinet decision to withdraw from bidding for the America’s Cup has been greeted with dismay on Leeside.

Business and sailing interests had been hopeful that securing event would have led to significant investment in Cork Harbour, helping develop it into a major global sailing hub.

President of Cork Chamber Paula Cogan told The Irish Times that there had been a sense that Ireland was going to miss out on the sailing extravaganza as after "a flurry of activity initially, things had gone quiet in recent weeks and that didn't bode well".

Ms Cogan described the decision as “disappointing”, pointing out that business and tourist interests in Cork had felt that hosting the America’s Cup would have made a huge difference in terms of tourism recovery post-Covid, not just in Cork but in Ireland.


“We felt it would have put not just Cork but Ireland back on the map in terms of tourism exposure post-Covid. Barcelona sees the value and sees how it will pay dividend but unfortunately our Department of Tourism, Culture and Sport and Government officials didn’t see it in the same light.”

Ms Cogan said that hosting the America’s Cup would have involved considerable investment, and while the initial plans would have meant that investment might have only benefitted the sailing community, those plans had been amended to ensure the entire city and region benefitted.

"It meant that most of the infrastructure that would have been put in place in some form or fashion so we would have seen investment in the Cork-Cobh rail line but also improved access to the water all the way from Cobh up to the city centre," she said.

“That improved access would have been there not just for the America’s Cup but afterwards for anyone wanting to use the water – we have spoken for decades about the real jewel in the crown from a Cork perspective being the harbour and that would have helped open up the harbour.

“We’ve seen the success of the cruise liner business and the investment involved in the America’s Cup would have taken things to another level in terms of attracting in sailing business with benefits for the hospitality and tourism sectors all around the harbour and up into the city.”


Former chairman of Cork Week Donal McClement also expressed disappointment, acknowledging that while it was impossible to put an exact figure on the economic bounty that would have accrued to Cork if it hosted the event, it was clear that there would be huge long-term benefits to the region.

“It’s a sad day missing out on the America’s Cup because it is the oldest sporting trophy in the world and such a major international competition that we had an opportunity to be at the top of the sports world which could only have been good for Cork,” he said.

“But it would appear, certain members of the government decided it was not a runner even though I am convinced we could have run it, we’ve run Cork Week for many years as one of the best regattas in the world so we have the knowledge and the capability to host something like America’s Cup.

"Financially it's extremely difficult to quantify the benefits because so much is speculation but if you are at Auckland, it's a completely redeveloped city on the back of the America's Cup and I've no doubt it would have led to similar type investment and development here in Cork."

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times