By Claire Murphy
Monday April 26 2010
Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council is determined not to miss the boat for the next round of applications due for the Volvo Ocean Race.
The council is already discussing the 2012 competition after missing out as a stopover destination to Galway for both last year's and next year's races.
Galway beat off opposition from several rival cities around the world to stage the event last year and has already been selected as the stopover for the end of the transatlantic leg from Boston in 2011.
But this time there has been a proposal to develop a combined bid from the four county councils in Dublin to host one part of the stopover.
"It's a wider issue than Dun Laoghaire," said Cllr Cormac Devlin. "Ultimately there is the opportunity for Dublin to get itself on the map.
Cllr Devlin (FF) has tabled a motion for the County Manager to make immediate arrangements for Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council to apply as a stopover port, and that discussions begin with all relevant stakeholders including Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company, Dublin City Council, Failte Ireland and local business groups.
"I can't understand how the four local authority managers, who regularly meet, didn't discuss this before now," Cllr Devlin said.
The Galway stopover helped generate a massive €55m for the regional economy, over a third higher than the original projections.
A crowd of 30,000 waited at the dockside for the arrival of the first boats home and over 650,000 spectators filed through the race village during the week-long event.
"If Dun Laoghaire got a fraction of the number of tourists that Galway received, it would be fantastic," said Cllr Devlin.
Volvo Ocean Race CEO Knut Frostad said he was delighted the race was returning to Irish shores.
"Galway will be a magnificent port to stage the finish of the event," he said.
"We have already experienced the enthusiasm that abounds in Ireland for the race and we are looking forward to bringing the competition to its conclusion in a country that really knows how to celebrate."
In response to Councillor Devlin's motion, the Manager replied;
"At the March Council meeting the issue of applying to host the Volvo Ocean Race in Dún Laoghaire was discussed. It was agreed that the Council would work with the relevant stakeholders as opposed to lead, in an effort to bring Internationally recognized sailing events to Dún Laoghaire. To this end the Council has held preliminary discussions with some of the stakeholders to identify suitable events for Dún Laoghaire. As the discussions progress Councillors will be updated."
Councillor Devlin welcomed the positive response by Management but insisted that one agency needs to take the lead on this initiative in order to progress a successful bid for Dublin. He encouraged (for the time being) Dún Loaghaire Rathdown County Council to take this lead with a view to gathering all the relevant stakeholders together to make the necessary arrangements. Councillor Devlin said that "an event of this nature would be a fantastic showcase for Dublin and especially Dún Laoghaire with the several of yacht clubs and our close relationship with marine activities. Cllr. Devlin stated that he looked forward to further up-dates from the Manager on this issue.