Taoiseach contacts Boris Johnson on 'exciting possibility' of 2030 World Cup bid 

Minister for Tourism Catherine Martin said the plan was "an exciting possibility" but said that talks are "at a very early stage".
Taoiseach contacts Boris Johnson on 'exciting possibility' of 2030 World Cup bid 

Government sources say the "strong desire" at this point would be to use at least one outside Dublin, which means that Cork's Pairc uí Chaoimh and Limerick's Gaelic Grounds could be used.

The Taoiseach has spoken with Boris Johnson to offer close cooperation on a joint bid by the UK and Ireland to host the 2030 World Cup.

Plans to stage the global football tournament in its centenary year in the five nations of England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland and Northern Ireland are underway.

Micheál Martin has confirmed he has spoken to his opposite number in the UK to offer his support for the bid.

Mr Martin said the Government will do what it can to "add value" to the joint bid.

He said: "It's very exciting news, it's very interesting. Obviously, it's very early days, but we're very happy to cooperate with the UK and, indeed, all the football associations involved.

"Obviously the whole idea of Ireland as a location for major events is something successive governments have been pushing for."

"It's early days, but we'll certainly do whatever we can to add value to that proposition.

"I think sports fans would be particularly happy with that, and it's something to look forward too," he told RTÉ. 

Earlier, Leo Varadkar said the joint bid would be "something for us to work towards together".

A feasibility study is currently underway and will continue before the formal bidding process begins next year, with Boris Johnson also giving his seal of approval.

Mr Varadkar said: "Great to see this coming together. Something for us to work towards together. Would be a real festival of football."

The bid was announced in a joint statement by the football associations of all five nations on Monday night.

Catherine Martin, the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, said the plan was "an exciting possibility" but that talks are "at a very early stage".

“Precise details of the involvement of each partner, including which cities and stadia will be involved, are yet to be determined. This provides a unique opportunity and as we sow the seeds of recovery for Ireland’s tourism sector we cannot underestimate the benefits such an event would bring to the country.”

A statement from the department said that direct economic benefits such as spending by visiting fans, media, and sponsors will be taken into account but other "long-term benefits such as increased international profile, participation in sports, strengthened links with our nearest neighbours, and increased future tourism will also be assessed".

Junior sports minister Jack Chambers said the Government "would not be found wanting".

He said the "footballing family" had the "drive, ambition and passion" to make the bid successful.

While no decision has been reached on which stadiums could be used, Government sources say that the "strong desire" at this point would be to use at least one outside Dublin, along with the Aviva Stadium and Croke Park, though FIFA is known to prefer to use just one stadium per city. 

That means that Cork's Páirc Uí Chaoimh and Limerick's Gaelic Grounds could be used.

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