Report due on Rugby World Cup bid
A report examining whether Ireland could host the 2023 Rugby World Cup will be presented to Stormont ministers this summer for a decision on whether to launch a formal bid.
A steering group has been investigating a joint bid by the governments in Dublin and Belfast to stage the prestigious tournament.
It has now emerged that the report is nearing completion and will be handed over to ministers this summer.
A decision will then be made on whether to formally bid for the 2023 tournament.
The details were disclosed by Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster following an Assembly question from SDLP MLA Alban Maginness.
Mrs Foster confirmed the steering group, set up in February, has met four times to date.
"It is expected that Hugo MacNeill, former Ireland international rugby player and managing director at Goldman Sachs in Dublin, who chairs the group, will present a report to ministers over the summer to allow a decision to be made about a bid," she confirmed.
The main obstacle to any bid is likely to be the huge cost involved. The fee for hosting the 2023 tournament will be in excess of £80m, and possibly as high as £100m, while millions more would have to be spent upgrading stadiums and facilities.