Northern Ireland sport events could get Stormont funding boost

Spain's Jon Rahm won the Irish Open when it was staged at Portstewart in 2017
Spain's Jon Rahm won the Irish Open when it was staged at Portstewart in 2017

The NI executive is considering funding a number of world class sporting events to be staged in Northern Ireland.

They include a round of the World Rally Championship, the 2021 Irish Open at Portstewart and the World Invitational golf event at Galgorm Castle.

Motorcycling's Ulster GP, an event whose future is under threat, is also under consideration for assistance.

"I aim to build on the momentum that's lifted NI's profile to a new level," said Economy Minister Diane Dodds.

She added: "Our focus is on attracting events that generate a positive international profile, drive visitor numbers, increase spend and introduce visitors to our wonderful culture, welcoming people and our scenic landscapes.

"The recent 148th Open stands out among the many first class home-grown and international, sporting, cultural and arts events which have generated economic benefit and helped position Northern Ireland as a must-see destination.

Global events

"Tourism NI is now considering funding applications for events in 2020/21, as well as a number of global events that could be hosted in Northern Ireland in future years.

"Funding of these events would, of course, be subject to affordability and it would not be appropriate to comment on individual events yet.

"However, I am confident that we will continue to support events which encourage visitors to come to Northern Ireland, explore more and stay longer."