Ireland’s bid to host the 2018 Gay Games received a significant boost today after the Minister for Sport Michael Ring agreed to back the bid at a meeting arranged by Fianna Fáil Senator Averil Power.
Limerick is one of three remaining cities competing to host the international sports event, which is expected to attract 200,000 people to the host city and region. Senator Power has been strongly supporting the bid and helping the organisers to secure Government backing for it. After she raised the issue with Minister Ring in the Seanad, he agreed to meet the organisers today and discuss how he might help them get the Irish bid over the line.
Speaking before the meeting, Senator Power said, “The Gay Games is one of the largest participative sporting events in the world. Winning the bid to host the 2018 Games in Ireland would be of enormous benefit not just to Limerick, but to the country as a whole. It would generate up to €80 million for the economy, with 200,000 people expected to attend, including 14,000 athletes.
“It would also be a fantastic opportunity to promote Ireland as a welcoming country for everybody, regardless of sexual orientation and to highlight the progress that has been made in recent years in terms of equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
“Hosting the Games would also be a great way to showcase the excellent sporting facilities that we have in Ireland and boost our reputation as an attractive location for other major international events.
“Cities that pitched for the 2018 games include Orlando, Sao Paolo, Rio de Janeiro, Amsterdam, London and Paris. It is testament to the considerable work that has been put into our bid by the Limerick 2018 team that Ireland has been short-listed to the final three, with London and Paris.
“A delegation from the Federation of Gay Games is visiting Limerick this week to check out the facilities there and meet with the bid team before the final location is selected. I am delighted that Minister Ring has agreed to my request to meet with me and the organisers in Dublin. Strong cross-party political backing will be major boost to the bid as it shows the selectors that if Ireland is picked, everything will be done to ensure the event is a success,” said Senator Power.