Cork’s bid to host the America’s Cup was an “unrivalled opportunity for Ireland” that would have benefited every sector of the region’s economy.
Cork Chamber of Commerce this morning said the decision to shelve the bid was “very disappointing for the region as a whole”.
It emerged overnight that Ireland had withdrawn its bid to host an event that Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney had described as third only to the World Cup and Olympics in terms of its global reach.
Despite Minister’s Coveney’s support, there was concern in government circles that the cost of hosting the event could reach as high as €200m – with uncertainty over the return it might bring.
In a statement last night, the Department of tourism and Sport said there was a real risk the necessary infrastructure would not have been in place in time for the event in 2024.
It said Minister Catherine Martin and Minister of State Jack Chambers recognised the positives for tourism the event could have brought the region but were concerned that “a very considerable amount of expenditure would have been required to deliver the event at a time of major and growing demands on the Exchequer”
On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, Thomas McHugh, Corporate Affairs manager for Cork Chamber said the €200m included major infrastructure works that are due to happen either way.
He said the overall cost would have been far lower than reported – with the event potentially bringing hundreds of millions of Euro into the local economy.
“At the end of the day, an event of this nature has a benefit across the whole of the economy,” he said.
“Every single category of the hospitality sector – there would have been a benefit to everybody in the regional economy.”
Mr McHugh said there are some “very practical reasons” as to why the bid failed this time around – but insisted any future opportunity must be grabbed with both hands.
“The concept is absolutely tremendous,” he said. “It is an unrivalled opportunity for Ireland and I think if there is every an opportunity again it will have to happen.
“It is very unfortunate it is not happening on this occasion.”
Mr McHugh outlined four specific ways the event would have benefited the region – with infrastructural investment, an economic boost when the teams arrived, a massive tourism boost and increased opportunities to advertise the region for foreign direct investment.
It is believed the event will now be awarded to Barcelona later this week.
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