Officials to restart discussions over all-Ireland Tour de France bid

Stormont officials have been instructed to restart discussions over an all-Ireland bid to host the opening stages of the Tour de France, Conor Murphy has said.

The North’s Economy Minister said previous talks on a joint bid to host the Grand Départ of the world’s most famous cycle race in Northern Ireland and the Republic were suspended because of the absence of a Stormont Executive, but he now wanted to explore what bringing the event to the island could achieve.

The 2014 Giro D’Italia cycle race featured stages on both sides of the Border and was hailed for its economic and tourist impact.

At ministerial question time, Mr Murphy was asked if there are plans to submit an all-Ireland bid to host the opening stages of the Tour de France.

He said: “In July 2023 discussions on a potential all-Ireland bid to host the Tour de France Grand Depart were suspended largely due to the absence of an Executive.

“Since coming into post I have instructed my officials to reopen that dialogue.

“As part of those deliberations the cost of the bid would have to be weighed against the benefits.

“I do note that in 2014 when the Giro d’Italia Grande Partenza was hosted in Ireland, it generated around £2.5 million in economic activity, £12.7 million in tourism impact and around 227,000 visitors.”

Sinn Féin MLA Philip McGuigan asked the Minister about the economic benefits of bringing events such as the Tour and the Euro 2028 football tournament to Northern Ireland.

Mr Murphy said: “I think it’s well recognised that, of course, it does require some upfront investment and that is a time when we are very, very challenged financially, in terms of the funding available to the Executive.

“But I think most of these large events have shown, and I think it would be no different hopefully on the basis that we could secure the Euros coming here as well, all these events would tend to have a longer-lasting economic, economically beneficial outcome and certainly in terms of tourism, which is a growing market for us and the key part of our industry here.


“So yes, I would certainly be approaching from the point of view of what the investment can achieve.

“The question, I suppose, is for the department to set against all of the other priorities they have is whether we can secure the necessary investment.

“But I look forward to doing the analysis, rejoining the discussion on that which had been parked as a consequence of no Executive and see what the estimations are for it and what we can hope to achieve.”


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