Munster welcomes agreement for inclusion of oversight mechanism in Rugby World Cup Bill
Sinn Féin spokesperson for Transport, Tourism, and Sport Imelda Munster TD has today welcomed changes to the Rugby World Cup 2023 Bill 2017, which are expected to add an element of financial oversight to the Bill, having raised concerns that the legislation lacked any measures relating to financial accountability in its original form with Minister for Transport Shane Ross this week.
The Bill gives the Minister for Transport Shane Ross the authority to provide fiscal guarantees and guarantees around the use of state services, which are required for prospective host nations by World Rugby.
Due to incorrect legal advice received by the Department of Transport, which left a very narrow window for its passing, the Bill was rushed through the Dáil in four hours last evening and is expected to come before the Seanad next week. The extremely short amount of time available to debate the Bill is due to a World Rugby deadline which must be met in order for the bid to be successful.
Deputy Munster said:
“Anyone who reads this Bill can see that it is a rush job. There is very little detail, other than the provision of a series of guarantees to World Rugby, at huge cost to the public purse, and with absolutely no oversight by the Oireachtas. The Bill gives the Minister for Transport a blank cheque.
“I was very concerned to see that there was no mechanism included in the Bill to manage to amount of money coughed up by the taxpayer for this tournament, should it come to Ireland, and I therefore submitted amendments seeking to include Oireachtas and Committee level oversight. Due to the very tight time-limit imposed by the Department, we were very restricted in what amendments we could put forward, however I was insistent that an amendment allowing for financial oversight of the tournament at the Joint Committee on Transport, Tourism, and Sport be included, and eventually Minister Ross agreed to draft an additional section for inclusion in the Bill.
“The legislation is vague and poor, and the government has shown no concern that it could lead to problems down the line for the public purse, however I do feel that the inclusion of Committee oversight has improved it significantly.
“I wish the bid every success. We are hopeful that Ireland’s bid to host the tournament is the successful one, and I commend all involved in the process.”