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Department of Sport dropped the ball with loss of major sporting event for Limerick – Byrne

16th April 2024 - Senator Maria Byrne

The Minister for Sport must prioritise Ireland’s regions to make sure they don’t miss out on opportunities to host major sporting events in the future, a Fine Gael Senator has said.

Senator Maria Byrne has expressed her disappointment that Limerick is no longer in the running to host the FIA World Rally Championship in 2025 after Minister of State at the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Thomas Byrne said that he needs a further six months to review Motor Sports Ireland’s proposal.

Senator Byrne explained: “This communication had me perplexed, as from my understanding Motor Sports Ireland made their application to the department over six months ago. In fact, the organisation has been confident of their chances of success, having come to the application process early.

“Instead, this morning I learned that after multiple ignored requests for meetings, on the final deadline granted by the FIA, Minister Byrne says he needs more time. This delay effectively takes Limerick out of the running for the bid.

“On Saturday at the Fianna Fáil Ard Fheis, Minister Byrne affirmed his determination to deliver as much funding as possible, as quickly as possible in his speech. Sadly, this situation has me questioning that assertion.

“I agreed with the Minister when he said that sport is the lifeblood of so many communities. But it’s important to remember that sport comes in many forms.

“Limerick sports enthusiasts and business owners alike were delighted when Motor Sports Ireland announced that they were one of the areas chosen to host the WRC. A series of sporting events of this magnitude would have provided a much-needed boost to the local economy – especially for our struggling hospitality sector.

“This is a real blow for Limerick and the Midwest region. We can’t allow administrative blunders like this to inhibit us from showcasing Munster and Ireland in general on the world stage.

“I urge the Minister to streamline this application and engage as necessary with Motor Sports Ireland’s application to thoroughly explore the possibility of hosting years beyond 2025,” Senator Byrne concluded.

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