The Green Party leader and the party's deputy leader, who is also the minister for sport, have denied there is any division within the Government on the hosting of the America's Cup.
Cork has been earmarked as a potential host for the yacht race in 2024 and may be the last applicant standing after Valencia in Spain, which was shortlisted along with Cork and Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, recently withdrew its bid. With a reported reluctance from American teams to travel to Saudi Arabia, Cork could have a clear path to hosting the event.
However, the potential outlay of €150m has been baulked at by some in government, who want to see the potential benefits for Co Cork spelled out before committing to host.
Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media Catherine Martin said yesterday that the economic analysis of hosting the competition was being examined, with outside experts being drafted in to assist. However, Ms Martin said that there was no division in her party or around the Cabinet table on the merits of hosting the 37th edition of the cup.
"My department has been looking at it all summer," she said.
"We tendered for assistance on the economic analysis, but it's a major event and worthy of full consideration. It wouldn't be appropriate for me to commentuntil I have all of the details."
Concerns have been raised that the event itself could be politically tainted by its close association with Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney, but speaking in Co Meath he said that the event would be "enormous".
"There's a process underway there has been since January in relation to Ireland putting its best foot forward to compete to host an enormous global sporting event in Ireland, because we have an incredible natural resource in terms of our marine environment."