Interesting that Armagh was the venue chosen to launch the IRFU’s intention to submit a bid for staging the 2023 Rugby World Cup in Ireland. The Royal School where the photocall was held is the alma mater of Ulster and Ireland winger Tommy Bowe from Emyvale, County Monaghan. But he was with the Ulster squad preparing for tomorrow’s European Cup match against Scarlets.
The announcement was made in conjunction with the Irish Government and Northern Ireland Executive, both of which pledged their support for the bid. The process will involve the development of a detailed programme, covering match schedules and venues, accommodation, international access, internal transport, communications infrastructure and community involvement. It is anticipated that the delivery of a world class bid will cost €1.5 million.
The GAA has previously agreed that it would make its stadia available for the staging of matches. It will now be up to the bid team to put together a specific match schedule in line with the requirements of World Rugby. It’s expected the decision on Rugby World Cup 2023 will be taken in mid 2017. Over 350,000 visitors could be expected in Ireland if it is granted the tournament. Speaking at the event the Taoiseach said he was delighted formally to announce the Irish government’s support, in conjunction with the Northern Ireland Executive, to back the IRFU’s bid to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup. Enda Kenny said Ireland would put together a winning bid that would be impossible to resist.
“We want to share the Irish sporting experience with the world by inviting the world to Ireland. I’m absolutely confident that Ireland will host the 2023 Rugby World Cup. The government will provide its full support to make it happen”, he added.
Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson said he fully supported this bid by the IRFU to bring an elite international sporting event to the home of one of the powerhouses of world rugby. It would be a tremendous achievement to see the IRFU host the Rugby World Cup 2023.
“This bid shows the ambition of the Northern Ireland Executive and our determination to bring world class international sporting events to Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland has demonstrated that whatever the event, whatever the occasion, we deliver. Regardless of whether it is cycling, golf, the World Police and Fire Games and now rugby, I have no doubt that this will be a resounding success both on and off the field”, Mr Robinson said.
“Infrastructure is key to this bid and the Northern Ireland Executive has already invested £14.7 million in the redevelopment of the home of Ulster Rugby to redevelop and expand the capacity of the stadium. World class players require world class facilities and we have that at Kingspan (Stadium).”
Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said: “I fully endorse the IRFU bid to bring the Rugby World Cup to Ireland in 2023. Rest assured we will put together a robust and compelling bid to bring this sporting spectacle to Ireland. This would involve teams coming to Ireland weeks in advance for training camps, providing a major boost to the tourism industry and that’s before the supporters from across the world descend. In 2007 the Rugby World Cup broadcast in over 200 countries and attracted a television audience of 4.2 billion so the potential audience is huge”.
IRFU Chief Executive Philip Browne said the organisation believed that Ireland, and its people, would make the perfect hosts for the 2023 Rugby World Cup. “The Rugby World Cup is one of the world’s major sporting events and the IRFU has been a central supporter of the tournament since its inauguration in 1987”, he said.
“In addition, Ireland has played a major part in the development of rugby football internationally. Stretching back to the Union’s formation in 1879, and right throughout the modern era, Irish rugby has supplied a series of inspirational players and administrators to the international game. We believe it is opportune for us now to put forward Ireland’s undoubted credentials to host world rugby’s showpiece.