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Friday 18 August 2017

Limerick launches bid for 2018 Gay Games

Hannah Popham

Limerick has launched a bid to bring an €80m event to the city for the first time.

Limerick is hoping to host the 2018 Gay Games and yesterday welcomed a team of representatives from the Federation of Gay Games, in a bid to be chosen against its competitors of Paris and London.

It has already beaten off stiff competition from Amsterdam and Orlando.

If Limerick wins the bid, the event will bring an estimated €80 million to the city and region.

Both the Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Michael Ring, and Fianna Fail Senator Averil Power have committed to Limerick’s current bid to host the tenth Gay Games in 2018. Senator Power said: “It’s really important to get political support because it sends out the message that if Ireland is successful, the government will do everything it can to ensure that the games are fantastic and that they go off very well.”

Chairperson of the 2018 Gay Games Limerick bid Emma Murphy says that the games will potentially gather revenue throughout Munster.

“It’s not just going to be Limerick city; it’s going to be the whole Shannon region,” she said.

“We’ve got amazing support for the huge sporting facilities in the University of Limerick, Thomond Park, and Ballyhoura in Cork. All of the 14,000 participants will actually come through Shannon Airport.”

It was also emphasised that despite the fact that the games are marketed as being primarily for gay athletes, the games were in fact universally inclusive.  Ms. Murphy said: “It’s about inclusivity, diversity and equality.”

If they do indeed get the bid, it is intended that “murder ball” (a form of basketball based in wheelchairs) will be included in the games to include disabled athletes.

“What’s most important is that people know that it won’t be just a drop in the ocean. This will be huge for Limerick city. There will not be a free bed in Limerick city for fourteen days,” Ms. Murphy added.

The winning city will be announced this October at the ninth Gay Games held in Cleveland, Ohio.

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