Varadkar to take part in final Rugby World Cup presentation
Ireland is up against France and South Africa in bid to host 2023 tournament
“If we win the bid it’s going to be enormous for the island of Ireland. It’s probably is the biggest sporting tournament that we could host as an island.” Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will travel to London on Monday to participate in the final presentation of the North-South bid to host the rugby World Cup in 2023.
Mr Varadkar will be joined by former Irish rugby captain and Ireland 2023 Ambassador Brian O Driscoll, and former tánaiste Dick Spring, who is chairman of the Ireland 2023 oversight board.
Ireland, France and South Africa will each present their bids to the World Rugby governing body in London on Monday morning.
In a video message released on Sunday, Mr Varadkar said: “If we win the bid it’s going to be enormous for the island of Ireland. It’s probably is the biggest sporting tournament that we could host as an island.”
A Government spokesman said the Government was confident Ireland could deliver an “outstanding” tournament which would prove a “superb showcase” for international rugby.
It would also be “a welcome contribution to the economy, North and South,” he said.
“Ireland’s bid to host Rugby World Cup 2023 is an exciting, all-island bid, supported by the governments and administrations in Dublin, Belfast and London.”
Also joining Mr Varadkar will be Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross, and Philip Browne, chief executive officer of the Irish Rugby Football Union.
Niamh Briggs, captain of the Ireland women’s team, Kieran McLoughlin, president and CEO of the American Ireland Fund, and the head of the civil service in Northern Ireland, David Sterling, will also be part of the bid team.
Mr Ross said the Oireachtas had recently passed the Rugby World Cup 2023 Act to make sure Ireland’s commitment was evident.
“The support of virtually all parties was quite staggering. It’s very, very rare to see that level of patriotism and unity in the Dáil and in the Seanad,” he said.