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DUP man Jonathan Bell is backing Ireland's rugby bid

By Noel McAdam

Published 02/12/2015

Enterprise Minister Jonathan Bell
Enterprise Minister Jonathan Bell

A DUP minister is joining forces with Dublin to push for the Rugby World Cup to come to Ireland in 2023.

Enterprise Minister Jonathan Bell revealed securing the event could attract 350,000 visitors north and south.

At question time in the Assembly, he said Northern Ireland has gained an international reputation for staging major events after the G8, the Giro d'Italia, and two successful Irish Opens.

"I have been working with the Irish Government, particularly on getting the Rugby World Cup to Ireland in 2023," he said.

"It is important that we have the right stadia, but it is also important in the sense that some of the provisional figures say that we could attract somewhere in the region of 350,000 people to Ireland and that, in particular, Northern Ireland could play a key role in about eight rugby international matches and, perhaps, a quarter-final."

Mr Bell also revealed that an invitation has been issued to the Northern Ireland football team to a reception at Stormont to celebrate their Euros qualification.

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