I propose to take Questions Nos. 796 and 797 together.
The Programme for Government includes a commitment that event tourism will be prioritised in order to continue to bring major events to Ireland. The hosting of major sports events can provide a great showcase for Ireland, drive international visitor numbers and the media coverage of sports tourism events helps to put Ireland onto travel itineraries as a holiday destination.
Fáilte Ireland continues to support the sports tourism sector and in 2012 the Volvo Ocean Race returned to Ireland with its finale in Galway, Dún Laoghaire hosted the ISAF Youth World Sailing Championship, the Tall Ships and the Bavaria Motor Racing Exhibition event took place in Dublin as well as the Navy-Notre Dame American Football game in the Aviva Stadium. Tourism Ireland also rolled out a busy programme of promotional activity to target a wide range of potential visitors in the run-up to and during the Olympic Games.
I am supportive of the ongoing efforts of the State Tourism Agencies and the National Governing Bodies of Sport to attract international events, subject, of course, to an assessment of the costs/benefits involved in any State financial support. On the sporting side, athletes from over thirty countries travelled to Ireland in 2012, for training or participation in Olympic/Paralympic related events before the London Games. I am aware of a number of sporting events taking place around the country during the year of The Gathering Ireland 2013,details of which are included on the Gathering website.