Ambitious moves to bring the Rugby World Cup to Derry in 2023 have moved up a gear with a cross-party delegation led by the city’s Mayor meeting with sporting chiefs in Belfast.
The group met with Irish rugby union bosses and senior GAA officials yesterday to discuss the feasibility of Derry’s Celtic Park being included as a possible match venue in Ireland’s bid for the global tournament.
Sinn Fein MLA Raymond McCartney, who was part of the delegation, believes Derry has a strong case to play in the Irish pitch.
He told the ‘Journal’: “It was a very positive meeting with the bid team who are currently assessing the stadia which may be included in the bid. Obviously, it is very early in the process but I think there is a strong case for Celtic Park, and this city and region as a whole, to be included in the bid.
“We have a proven track record of hosting big events in this city. There is overwhelming cross-party and civic support and the GAA have exciting plans in place for the development of Celtic Park which would make it an extremely attractive venue.”
It’s understood both deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and Sports Minister Caral ni Chuilin have also had discussions with the GAA regarding Celtic Park’s inclusion in the bid.
“The signs are encouraging,” added Mr. McCartney, “and, if we can replicate the united ‘Team Derry’ approach which was so successful in terms of the City of Culture, there is very real potential here.”