Cullen won't get involved
DESPITE the blow to the Irish economy arising from the staging of the Republic of Ireland v Brazil game in London tomorrow, Minister for Sport Martin Cullen has washed his hands of the affair, claiming that it has nothing to do with him.
Meanwhile, Dublin Chamber of Commerce, who have offered some trenchant views on the difficulties being experienced by the business community, remained remarkably silent on the loss to London of a money-spinning international event featuring an Irish team.
We emailed both Mr Cullen's office and Dublin Chamber of Commerce but while Cullen's office replied, there was no response from the Chamber.
Here's the question we put to Dublin Chamber and Minister Cullen's office: "In light of the fact that major international sporting events are worth a large amount of money to Dublin, what is the Minister for Sport's response to the fact that, at a time of deep economic recession, the Republic of Ireland v Brazil friendly international soccer game next Tuesday March 2, is being played in London rather than Dublin, despite the fact that Croke Park is available on that date?"
The minister's office replied: "Where the Ireland team plays its games is not a matter for the minister but rather for the FAI. The minister understands that the game against Brazil in the Emirates Stadium is being promoted by a company called Kentaro who invited the FAI to participate. The minister would not be in a position to influence a private company in this regard.
"The minister also understands that the FAI, when first approached by Kentaro, asked them to consider Croke Park among the stadiums that were being considered for the game. The FAI has stated publicly that offers were received by Kentaro from all these stadia and the Emirates Stadium won the bid both in terms of cost and in terms of potential revenue generation for the match organisers, Kentaro."