MINISTER OF STATE for Tourism and Sport Michael Ring insists that the Irish bid to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup is a ‘realistic’ one.
The Minister revealed that the Government are committed with Fáilte Ireland in their support of the project and are awaiting the results of a feasibility study currently being undertaken by the IRFU.
The bid received a significant boost in August when the GAA’s Central Council agreed to make six stadia available to the IRFU for a feasibility study into hosting the event.
“It is realistic,” remarked Ring. “The government are committed with Fáilte Ireland to get any international sporting event into the country, within reason. The GAA, I’m delighted to say that they’re on board, and the rugby people are doing a feasibility study to see is it practical.
“At the end of the day there’s only so much that the Government can do and support. It is a matter for the IRFU and the GAA and with the international rugby body that they can actually work this. What we have done is said come back to us with a report and we’ll take it from there.”
The Minister added that after suggestions the GAA will seek funding to upgrade some of their stadiums if a bid is successful, that they were within their right to do so.
“All I’ll say in relation to the bid, if it happens, then you know and I know that there’s no better people than the GAA to get their euro out of it. And that’s their right to do that. If they’re going to be making their facilities available, which they have agreed to do, whatever they can get out of it, that’s good business.”
Meanwhile the Fine Gael TD has also outlined how priority will be given to shared sports facilities in this year’s sports capital funding programme, details of which will be released in the coming weeks.
“I’ll be announcing the sports capital (programme) next week or the week after. The priority this time will be people with shared facilities. We want the facilities used (by many sports).
“The facilities that are there, I can do nothing about, they’re there now. It’s a matter for the organisations to do whatever they can do to get people into them and get them filled. That’s their business but, for now, I have a different role.”