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Ireland misses out on chance to host World Rally events

Motorsport Ireland has announced that Ireland is no longer being considered to host a round of the FIA World Rally Championship in 2025.

The organisation claim to have received confirmation from Minister of State for Sport, Thomas Byrne, that the department would need “at least six months” to undertake further independent economic assessments and analysis of the proposal.

In January, Motorsport Ireland proposed three host locations in their bid to bring the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) back to Ireland for the years 2025-27.

Kerry, Limerick, and the South East region, based out of Waterford, were all included, with the intention that the three regions would host on a rotating basis.

A statement released by Motorsport Ireland read: “To date, Motorsport Ireland have received no questions or feedback on any of the documents submitted to the department.

“Due to having received no update [from] the department by the Q1 deadline, Motorsport Ireland requested, and were granted, an extension of a fortnight from the promoter.

“From the beginning Motorsport Ireland have been very clear that March 2024 was the cutoff for receiving acknowledgment if we were successful or not in our request for funding. This deadline wasn’t chosen by Motorsport Ireland, this was an operational deadline set by the World Rally Championship promoter.

“To learn on the last day of our extension from the promoter that Minister Byrne’s department now require another six months to undertake further independent assessments and analysis is very frustrating.”

The minister responded to Motorsport Ireland’s claims by addressing the concept and committing to offering support after 2025.

“What the government has said very clearly is that we are prepared to consider supporting World Rally in the years after 2025,” said Minster Byrne.

“And I think that is a very reasonable and fair decision by the government. We want to support all our sports but at the level of money that is being requested we have to do a full independent economic study in relation to that.

“And we have said that we will fund that study, but if Motorsport Ireland want us to do that study then I would be grateful if they would contact the department to make those arrangements.

“It could take place over the course of the year,” added Minister Byrne, in relation to when the study could take place.

“But anytime there is a significant allocation of public money we have to make the right decision about that. yes we want to support sports, yes we want to see increased participation and economic benefits but we feel at this point…. we got the information from Motorsport Ireland in October ’23, we don’t think we can do it before 2025.

“But we are saying we would welcome consideration by Motorsport Ireland for the years after that.

“We are absolutely not ruling out world rally and I am inviting Motorsport Ireland to come to us if they want us to do an economic assessment for the years after 2025.”

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