€1.5billion economic boost for Ireland if 2023 Rugby World Cup bid succeeds
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€1.5billion economic boost for Ireland if 2023 Rugby World Cup bid succeeds

IRELAND'S Rugby World Cup bid represents the hopes and aspirations of the island of Ireland, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said.

The team bidding for Ireland to host the international tournament in 2023 were in London today, Monday 25, to deliver a presentation to World Rugby representatives.

The Emerald Isle is one of three bids, alongside South Africa and France, with a final decision to be announced on November 15.

"This bid represents the hopes and aspirations of the entire Island of Ireland and is focused firmly on the future of rugby and our communities," said Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, adding that it had the support of Ireland's 70million strong diaspora.

"Ireland is a modern and changing nation, with the youngest population and fastest-growing economy in Europe.

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"An island of peace and prosperity, with a new-found self-confidence about our place in the world. The 2023 Rugby World Cup will be a national priority.”

Ireland has previously hosted major events including the Giro d'Italia, the Ryder Cup, the Special Olympics as well as the World Police and Fire Games.

It is also set to host the Open Golf Championship in 2019.

Ireland has promises a tournament like no other, full of Irish spirit. (Picture: Inpho)

Should the bid be successful, the island of Ireland should see a €1.5billion economic benefit with more than 445,000 fans expected to travel for the tournament.

Stadiums across the country - ranging in capacity of between 17,000 and 82,000 -  are being considered as venues.

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They include:

Casement Park, Belfast (34,186)
Kingspan Stadium, Belfast (18,168)
McHale Park, Castlebar (38,000)
Páirc Ui Chaoimh, Cork, (45,770)
Celtic Park, Derry (17,000)
Croke Park, Dublin (82,300)

Aviva Stadium, Dublin (51,711)
RDS Arena, Dublin, (18,677)
Pearse Stadium, Galway (34,000)
FitzGerald Stadium, Killarney (38,200)
Nowlan Park, Kilkenny (26,000)
Thomond Park, Limerick (26,897)

This week's London delegation also included Ireland's bid Ambassador Brian O'Driscoll and captain of the Irish Women's Rugby Team Niamh Briggs as well as Kieran McLoughlin, Worldwide President and CEO of The Ireland Funds.

"Ireland 2023 will truly be a tournament like no other and central to this will be our focus on the players," O'Driscoll said.

"We have put enormous time, energy and experience into looking at the demands a modern Rugby World Cup makes on players and teams.

"This is the players' opportunity to shine and Ireland will ensure they can live their dream.”

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Liam Neeson has been a supporter of the bid. (Picture: Mike Coppola/Getty Images)

Celebrity supporters of Ireland's campaign have included U2, Bob Geldof and Liam Neeson.

Geldof produced a moving rendition of the WB Yeats poem Lake Isle of Innisfree, relating the power of the Irish diaspora to impact upon the growth of rugby throughout the world.

While a video featuring Liam Neeson, Ireland – Ready for the World, was also produced in support of the bid.

Kieran McLoughlin, Worldwide President and CEO of the Ireland Funds added: "There is tremendous excitement among the diaspora, 70million around the world, at the prospect of the 2023 Rugby World Cup being played in Ireland.

"From the boardrooms of great corporations to the hearts of communities and Irish pubs throughout the world, Ireland 2023 offers World Rugby something unique – a global stadium.”

Both the Irish Government and the Northern Ireland Executive have pledged to support Rugby World Cup 2023, while the GAA also gave a historic commitment to make their iconic match venues available for games.

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Shane Ross, Irish Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, said: "For Ireland, Rugby World Cup 2023 is the ultimate prize and we will work tirelessly with World Rugby to ensure it prospers, spreading the rugby message across the globe.

"We will provide a unique welcome to over 445,000 visitors who will sample the extraordinary atmosphere certain to be created around our iconic stadia, right in the heart of our towns and cities.

Ireland stands willing and ready to host this tournament in a way that rugby has never really experienced before."