Shane Ross: "Let's think about" an Olympics bid

Minister Ross says "the sky is the limit" if Ireland's Rugby World Cup bid is a success

Shane Ross: "Let's think about" an Olympics bid

Shane Ross. Photo: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

The Transport, Tourism and Sport Minister says there is no reason why Ireland cannot compete to host the Olympic Games.

At a Dáil committee this morning, Shane Ross has been answering questions about Ireland's ongoing bid for the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

He said investment in stadiums for such a tournament could pave the way for an Olympic bid.

Minister Ross was asked if holding the women's and men's Rugby World Cups could pave the way for bigger tournaments.

He argued: "We're now thinking in these terms. It's really very, very exciting. Let's think about the Olympics, sure.

"Now it's a real, realistic prospect. If we build up these stadiums, and we are a credible bidder - which we obviously are - and if we win this bid, I think the sky is the limit."

Recent Olympics have required host countries to spend billions of euro, with the London games in 2012 the most expensive to date.

Fianna Fail's spending spokesman Dara Calleary says the minister should be focusing on his day job.

Deputy Calleary observed: "He doesn't understand [the Olympics] - if he'd actually do something real about sport [or] transport on a day-to-basis rather than talking 'pie in the sky' ideas about the Olympics... the country would be a lot better off."

South Africa and France are also bidding to host the Rugby World Cup in six years time, with a decision set to be made in November of this year.

This year's Women's Rugby World Cup will be held in Dublin and Belfast.

Meanwhile, Minister Ross also indicated he will consider supporting a bid for Northern Ireland to host the Commonwealth Games.

He will examine whether it is possible to support Belfast holding the games in 2022.

The 2022 games were originally intended for Durban in South Africa, but are now being held somewhere in the UK - with the British government already committing to cover the costs.

Minister Ross observed: "I haven't a clue, quite honestly, whether it's a good or a bad idea at this stage, or what the feasibility of it is. I presume it's up to Belfast to make that bid.

"But sure - let's explore it. I see no reason why not."