'They wouldn't negotiate a piss up in a brewery': Angry exchange as rugby World Cup bid slammed

Update: The organisers of Ireland's failed Rugby World Cup bid “couldn't organise a piss up in the brewery” the Seanad has heard, writes Irish Examiner political editor, Daniel McConnell.

Fianna Fail Senator Terry Leyden launched a blistering attack on those behind Ireland's bid describing it as “amateur” and a “disgrace”.

“It is a case of crying over spilt milk at this stage as far as the Rugby World Cup bid is concerned, because really quite frankly, they made a bags of it. Call a spade a spade,” he blasted.

His comments drew a sharp and angry response from Fine Gael Senator Neale Richmond, who is an avid rugby supporter and player, who raised Mr Leyden's previous controversial comments in which he “gave out” about women playing rugby.

“That is a ridiculous comment. Retract that. Senator Leyden comes in here and gives out about women playing rugby. You don't know what you are talking about, stick to what you know,” he said.

“What did you contribute? Slagging off women playing rugby. That really helped,” Mr Richmond said.

But Mr Leyden was undeterred.

He also took aim at the political figures behind the bid.

“They hadn't the ability, the Taoiseach wasn't able to negotiate, Minister Ross was more concerned with North Korea,” he said.

Mr Leyden, a veteran member of the Upper House, said that had Fianna Fail been in power, the bid would have succeeded.

“When we were in power we could negotiate for world events,” he said.

“They could negotiate bailouts. That went really well too. Stick to what you know,” responded Mr Richmond during the heated exchanges in reference to Fianna Fail's mishandling of the economy which led to the arrival of the Troika in 2010.

“I wouldn't lose Scottish connections, I wouldn't lose the Scottish vote or the Welsh vote. Where were they going? What kind of amateurs do they send out anymore. Sure they wouldn't negotiate a piss up in a brewery for God's sake. Give me a break, it is a disgrace,” Mr Leyden went on.

His use of the profanity led Seanad chairman Denis O'Donovan to chastice Mr Leyden, who agreed to withdraw the phrase.

However, he did so in a defiant fashion.

“I withdraw that so, but it does very well explain their inability to win friends,” he said.

The Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) said it would not be making any comment in response to Mr Leyden's comments.

Meanwhile, Minister for Education Richard Bruton has ruled out an examination into Ireland’s failed bid for the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

“Every time a ballot goes against us...you can’t announce that you’re going to have an examination as to why we don’t win,” he said.

“Sometimes you don’t win these ballots.”

Speaking in the Dail, Mr Bruton said investment in sports was done with a long-term goal “to see at least half our population actively involved in sporting activity” as the Government’s funding of stadium development was criticised in the Dáil.

Meath West Fianna Fáil TD Shane Cassells called for a report into Ireland’s third place out of three and said at that €1.25 million of taxpayers’ money and a lot of political capital went into the bid.

Mr Cassells reminded the Dáil that Minister for Sport Shane Ross had passed legislation to facilitate the rugby bid and at the time described it as the “most energising piece of legislation he had ever introduced”.

The Fianna Fáil TD said Ireland’s bid “lacked the energy, place kicking and front row power” of the French application.

Earlier: Ireland’s 2023 Rugby World Cup bid was overseen by "amateurs" who "wouldn’t negotiate a piss up in a brewery", according to a Fianna Fáil Senator.

Speaking in the Seanad this afternoon, Senator Terry Leyden said that while there was "no point in crying over spilt milk" he felt the people behind the bid had "made a bags of it".

"Call a spade a spade. They hadn’t the ability to negotiate."

His comments prompted a heated exchange with Fine Gael Senator Neale Richmond who suggested Senator Leyden was being "ridiculous" and that he and his party should stick to negotiating what they were good at, bailouts.

Later Mr Leydon went on: "Amateurs ... sure they wouldn’t negotiate a piss up in a brewery for God’s sake".

Fine Gael Senator Frank Feighan also suggested that "our Celtic cousins, Scotland and Wales, who play with us on the Lions, did let us down".

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