Ireland and UK due to host Euro 2028 as other bids fall

Tournament could bring up to 150,000 visitors, with final bid due by early 2023

Ireland is expected to host the 2028 Uefa European Football Championship alongside the UK as rival bids fall by the wayside, Cabinet will be told on Tuesday.

Minister for Sport Catherine Martin and Minister of State Jack Chambers will seek Government permission for a letter supporting an expression of interest for the bid, which has to be put in by Wednesday.

The Football Association of Ireland has teamed up with its counterparts in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to form a joint bid. Ministers will be told that rival bids have faded away, with Italy indicating it would seek only to host the 2032 tournament, while Uefa has ended the Russian bid and Turkey has dropped out.

Cabinet, which meets at 10am in Dublin Castle, to be chaired remotely from Washington DC by Taoiseach Micheál Martin, will be briefed that a successful staging of Euro 2028 could bring up to 150,000 visitors and €600 million in spending, depending on how many matches would be staged in Ireland. About 50 per cent of supporters would be expected to come from outside the UK and Ireland – but the Government would have to front up costs on venues, transport, security and “fan zones”.

Only bid

The number of matches would in turn be affected by whether a 32- or 24-team tournament goes ahead, which will also inform whether both Croke Park and Lansdowne Road are used. While the latter received upgrades and investment ahead of the planned Euro 2020 matches, which were moved due to Ireland's Covid rules, Croke Park would be likely to need some investment if it were to play a part, sources said.

There is no staging or bidding fee, however. A final bid is due to be submitted in spring next year, although coalition sources believe that timeline could be accelerated if as is expected – barring a last-minute hitch – the bid involving Ireland is the only one put forward

Separately, Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris will seek government consent for a proposal to allow Technological Universities access State borrowing to build student accommodation. The proposals will be brought as part of the Higher Education Authority Bill, which will be debated at the Oireachtas education committee this week.

Until now, TUs were unable to access State finance when building student accommodation. The wider Bill seeks to reform governance in the sector, which largely rests on the Higher Education Authority Act, a 50-year-old piece of legislation. Mr Harris will also update the Cabinet on plans to make 1,000 student accommodation spaces available, which will be provided outside the academic term to host people fleeing Ukraine.

Food supply

Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue will seek Cabinet approval for priority drafting of the Agriculture and Food Supply Chain Bill, which will seek to create an ombudsman style office to improve fairness and transparency in the food supply chain.

It will have a function related to price and market analysis – a requirement set down by the European Commission to strengthen transparency in the sector by improving the statistical data available. It will also oversee that fairness is observed in the supply chain by being the State's designated enforcement authority for rules on unfair trading practices in the sector.

Minister for Housing Darragh O'Brien will update the Cabinet on two days of talks at the Workplace Relations Commission, planned for this week, on the integration of workers from local authorities into Irish Water, which has been resisted by unions.