Sinn Féin Foyle Westminster Candidate Elisha McCallion has voiced her support for Celtic Park to host fixings if Ireland is selected to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup.
Mrs McLaughlin was speaking as she and her son Daithí attended the Derry v Tyrone match at the weekend in the city alongside Sinn Fein leader in north Michelle O’Neill and Martin McGuinness’ son Fiachra.
She said: “I am pleased to support the bid to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup and that Celtic Park in Derry is one of the stadia used for hosting the tournament.
“Martin McGuinness was to the fore in championing Ireland as a country to host this showcase sporting event.
“Martin represented the Executive as Ireland’s entry into the ‘candidate’ phase of the selection process to determine the host for the 2023 Rugby World Cup when it was formally announced at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.”
Mrs McLaughlin said that during her time as Mayor, she facilitated a number of meetings with the GAA and IRFU to look at the possibility of using Celtic Park to host games as part of bringing the competition to Ireland.
“It has already been shown in the North that we have a proven track record of hosting major global events including the G8, Giro d’Italia, MTV Music Awards, the World Police and Fire Games, the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race and the Irish Open Golf Championship,” she said, adding:
“It is estimated some 445,000 are predicted to travel to Ireland for the tournament, so it would be of immense benefit to the economy with a massive worldwide TV audience.
“Like everyone in this city I would like to see nothing more than Celtic Park being part of all that. We all have seen the immense value of Derry being able to hold showcase events with a positive spin off for our neighbouring counties of Donegal and Tyrone.”