Sports Minister Caral Ni Chuilin hopeful over Northern Ireland bid for Commonwealth Games
It is likely to cost more than £500m, but Northern Ireland may apply to host the Commonwealth Games following the success of Belfast hosting this summer's World Police and Fire Games.
Sports Minister Caral Ni Chuilin said the facilities were in place to attract one of sport's paramount events but warned the cost would be high.
She said that the police and fire games cost £13.8m, compared to an estimated price tag of £523m for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow next year. Thousands of athletes and their families attended the police and fire games in Belfast last month.
Ms Ni Chuilin told the Assembly: "I think Belfast has demonstrated in terms of hosting huge and major sporting events that it can do it, it can punch above its weight.
"I am hopeful that Belfast would be in a position to consider perhaps hosting the Commonwealth Games in the future.
"It certainly has the facilities, the infrastructure, the experience and has the attitude to do it."
Preparations for the 2014 games in Scotland are at an advanced stage, with the main venues having been built and opened to the public.
The 11-day sporting festival will see thousands of athletes compete in 17 sports across 14 venues. This year's two-week police and fire games took place in 41 venues with almost 7,000 competitors from 67 countries.