The Ireland team bidding to host Rugby World Cup 2023 delivered a powerful presentation to the World Rugby representatives in London today and promised to deliver a ‘tournament like no other’.
Ireland 2023 aims to capture the hearts and minds of audiences throughout the world, while delivering the largest, most secure, commercial programme ever offered to World Rugby in its drive to secure rugby’s greatest prize – the 2023 Rugby World Cup.
The delegation was spearheaded by An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar TD, together with Shane Ross TD, the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Dick Spring, Chairman of the Ireland 2023 Oversight Board, IRFU Chief Executive Philip Browne, David Sterling, Head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service, IRFU President Philip Orr, Ireland’s Bid Ambassador Brian O’Driscoll, Niamh Briggs, captain of the Ireland Women’s team, and Kieran McLoughlin, Worldwide President and CEO of The Ireland Funds.
In addition to the live contributions, the fast-moving presentation to World Rugby contained video support pieces featuring:
– U2 and Bono at their Croke Park concert this summer promoting Ireland as the perfect host for RWC 2023
– Bob Geldof, with a moving rendition of the WB Yeats poem, ‘Lake Isle of Innisfree’, relating the power of the Irish diaspora to impact upon the growth of rugby throughout the world
– Liam Neeson’s video, ‘Ireland – Ready for the World’, specially produced in support of Ireland’s 2023 bid
– Niamh Briggs highlighting Irish people’s infectious enthusiasm and capacity to deliver on a world stage
Commenting following the presentation, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said: “This bid represents the hopes and aspirations of the entire Island of Ireland and is focused firmly on the future of rugby and our communities. It presents World Rugby with a compelling proposition, that combines all the advantages of a traditional rugby market with the many opportunities of a new territory.
“Ireland is a modern and changing nation, with the youngest population and fastest-growing economy in Europe. An island of peace and prosperity, with a new-found self confidence about our place in the world.
“This bid is grounded in certainty, through the unparalleled support of Ireland’s jurisdictions north and south, and the traditions of the IRFU. Its success will be our total focus and will carry the support of Ireland’s 70 million strong diaspora. The 2023 Rugby World Cup will be a national priority.”
Shane Ross, the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, said: “For Ireland, Rugby World Cup 2023 is the ultimate prize and we will work tirelessly with World Rugby to ensure it prospers, spreading the rugby message across the globe.
“I know that the tourism industry and communities the length and breadth of the island will embrace the tournament. We will provide a unique welcome to over 445,000 visitors who will sample the extraordinary atmosphere certain to be created around our iconic stadia, right in the heart of our towns and cities. Ireland stands willing and ready to host this tournament in a way that rugby has never really experienced before.”
Dick Spring, Chairman of the Ireland 2023 Oversight Board, commented: “This bid reflects an Ireland of the 21st century, confident, creative, aspirational but also realistic in the guarantees it gives to make this a tournament like no other.
“It is centred on a true spirit of co-operation and camaraderie right across the Island of Ireland and is one of which every Irish man and woman, wherever they are in the world, can be rightly proud.”
David Sterling, Head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service, said: “Rugby World Cup 2023 has the potential to leave a lasting legacy for rugby both at home and around the globe. Across the Island of Ireland, we have a proven track record of delivering major sporting international events and are keen to add the Rugby World Cup 2023 to that list.
“Hosting the Giro d’Italia, the Ryder Cup, the Special Olympics, the World Police and Fire Games and the Open Golf Championship in 2019 shows we not only have the ambition but the ability to deliver. Indeed, just recently World Rugby witnessed first-hand the levels of enthusiasm and support for rugby in Ireland when the Women’s Rugby World Cup was played in front of record crowds in Belfast and Dublin.”
IRFU Chief Executive Philip Browne remarked: “This bid is an extraordinarily powerful declaration of intent by the IRFU, our friends in the GAA, the Governments, state bodies from North and South and the Irish people. It proclaims we are united in our desire to host the Rugby World Cup and the proposition we have placed before World Rugby make this a reality.
“Ireland’s bid is world class. It combines a compelling commercial offer with iconic stadia, modern infrastructure, a major tourism industry, a deep rugby tradition and a commitment to World Rugby from all stakeholders that this tournament will take rugby to new levels across the globe.”
Bid Ambassador Brian O’Driscoll commented: “Ireland 2023 will truly be a ‘tournament like no other’ and central to this will be our focus on the players. We have put enormous time, energy and experience into looking at the demands a modern Rugby World Cup makes on players and teams.
“This starts with world-class facilities and services. Facilities that put the players front and centre, allowing every player the opportunity to perform to his absolute potential. This is the players’ opportunity to shine and Ireland will ensure they can live their dream.”
Kieran McLoughlin, Worldwide President and CEO of The Ireland Funds, added: “There is tremendous excitement among the diaspora, 70 million around the world, at the prospect of the 2023 Rugby World Cup being played in Ireland.
“Members of the diaspora will travel en masse to support this tournament and will be an army of ambassadors for rugby in new communities and markets. From the boardrooms of great corporations to the hearts of communities and Irish pubs throughout the world, Ireland 2023 offers World Rugby something unique – ‘a Global Stadium’.”