Seanad has passed the Rugby World Cup bill, without a vote, so Ireland can continue with the dream of hosting the 2023 event. The Ireland Rugby Football Union (IRFU) is now clear to lodge the bid to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup, according to reports.
There were concerns that the bill could fall through after emergency legislation was employed to enable the government underwrite the tournament costs of €200 million. This is aside the reported tournament fee of €138 million.
Some senators raised serious concerns about the proposed bid but none eventually voted against it. The bill rapidly progressed through the Oireachtas with more senators criticizing others who were critical of the proposal.
“The attempts to undermine this bid based on obvious commercial requirements show a glaring lack of knowledge. It is especially disappointing to hear it coming from experienced politicians and commentators in some cases.
“In addition, the attempts to guarantee free-to-air coverage of the entire tournament are reckless and run counter of the overall aim to present Ireland as the best possible tournament host, compliant to the rules and needs of World Rugby,” a critical Fine Gael senator Neale Richmond said about the move.
Mr Richmond asked that anyone who wanted to criticize the bill do so intellectually as “reckless concerns” can undermine the bid. He advised them to “choose [their] comments carefully.”
Labour Senator Aodhan Riordain countered Richmond, saying senators had the duty to ask questions. Many senators were bothered about the TV rights which World Rugby would sell exclusively, without the opinion of the Irish government.
The TV rights’ issue and the state underwriting of the bid were the two main concerns but the bill eventually passed so the World Cup plans are in order.