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Irish government will support Rugby World Cup bid

By Nick Purewal

Leo Varadkar has secured support in his drive to bring the Rugby World Cup to Ireland.

The Republic's government has agreed to approach ministers in Northern Ireland about launching a bid to host the global event in 2023. A spokesman confirmed last night that the much-heralded plan had now been given the green light by the Cabinet.

Officials in the Department of Transport, Sport and Tourism will now contact authorities in Northern Ireland about holding an "all-island event".

Mr Varadkar told his cabinet colleagues that the tournament had the potential to boost the economy by £671m.

"The Cabinet has given the thumbs-up to the proposal and contact will be made now with the tourism and sport ministers in the North," a spokesman said.

A feasibility study carried out by consultancy firm Deloitte stated that a cross-border bid would be "realistic".

Officials will also contact the GAA over agreements to use its stadiums for the tournament.

The bid itself will have to be made before a deadline in 2016. The successful bidder will be announced in 2017.

Meanwhile, Irish rugby boss Philip Browne can find "no reason on earth" why Ireland could not host the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

Brown said: "Yes it's a big bid and it's a big undertaking. But if it can be done in New Zealand, which is a similar size in terms of population, there's no reason on earth why it can't be done here."

Belfast Telegraph

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