Sport undoubtedly showcases Ireland around the world and we have a proud tradition in the international sporting arena where we consistently punch above our weight. I have met with the Federation of Irish Sports and had discussions on the importance of sport to Ireland in an international context.
I want to ensure that Ireland remains an attractive location for international sporting events. 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 sports events provides an opportunity to show that a country like Ireland can host major sporting events, such as the Ryder Cup, the Tall Ships Race, Volvo Ocean Race and the Solheim Cup, in an efficient and professional manner. It also provides a great showcase for Ireland 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 will return to Ireland with its finale in Galway while Dún Laoghaire will host the ISAF Youth World Sailing Championship.