Hopes reignite for Limerick to host World Rally Championship stage

Hopes are reigniting for Ireland and even Limerick to host a WRC stage in the future. Photo: Philip Fitzpatrick.

IRELAND will still be in the running to host a round of the World Rally Championship (WRC) at some point in the future, and may even see a stage held in Limerick, as was previously hoped, a Limerick Minister has said.

Limerick was previously selected to host a round of the WRC from 2025, but plans for the staging of the international rally event fell through after the government decided that more time was needed to undertake an economic assessment.

Now, Fianna Fáil Minister Niall Collins has confirmed that the government is still examining the possibility of hosting the WRC at some future date.

In a statement to the Limerick Post, Minister Collins said that “the Department of Sport is due to hold a series of meetings in the coming months about the possibility of Ireland hosting the FIA World Rally Championships at a date later than 2025”.

“This is a hugely welcome development. The WRC promoter has confirmed that alternative voting years are possible for Ireland to host rounds of the championship. Department of Sport officials will now prioritise engaging with Motorsport Ireland on the matter,” the Limerick Minister said.

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It was announced by Motorsport Ireland in January that Limerick was one of three Irish counties to host the WRC across 2025, 2026, and 2027.

Limerick would have shared the hosting of the event with Kerry and Waterford, with each county seeing a rally stage being held there each year.

However, plans fell through in April of this year after the government said they would need at least six months to undertake an economic assessment of the event and the value it would bring to the Irish economy.

Because of this, Ireland missed the deadline for submissions to host the event and the economic boon with it.

Minister Collins said that “Limerick would be an ideal county to host a stage of the championship”.

Minister for Sport Thomas Byrne confirmed to Deputy Collins that he had a meeting with Motorsport Ireland and the WRC Promoter where he expressed his department’s “openness to considering the scope for support for a possible future Irish hosting of the WRC but that it would have to be later than 2025 to allow for a more detailed and extensive economic assessment”.

The Sport Minister added that there would be further engagement between the department and Motorsport Ireland around “the possibility of Ireland hosting rounds of the World Rally Championship”.

“The department anticipates this process to take place over a number of months,” Minister Byrne concluded.