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'We lost chance to host €80m race as we didn't apply'

Councillors in Dun Laoghaire are furious that the council did not apply to host the Volvo Ocean Race -- after Galway was announced as a stopover for 2012.

Dun Laoghaire has once again missed out on a tourist boost of between €60m and €80m, and councillors say it is unacceptable that the council failed to apply.

Cllr Cormac Devlin (FF) said: "They [the council] don't seem to be interested or to have the wherewithal [to apply]. I don't know what the problem is."

"You're nearly guaranteed a return from it. The sheer revenue generated from the race would be huge. To even apply for it would have been fantastic."

Galway is now set for a major tourism boost of up to €80m once again after being confirmed as the venue for the finish of the next Volvo Round the World Ocean Race in 2012.

Cllr Devlin said: "It's a huge loss, both in revenue, in spin-off business, in tourism, and in natural footfall through the town. It would be like a second festival of world cultures. Speaking to traders and businesses, they're very hungry for something of that scale."

Dun Laoghaire town is a prime candidate for hosting a stopover for the race according to councillors, and the council needs to put an application forward for the next race.

Cllr Gearoid O'Keeffe said: "Dun Laoghaire is very strong. There are a lot of connections in Dun Laoghaire with four yacht clubs, a huge underage population, and I do think the Volvo Race would bring a vibrancy."

"We should have done it before, and it's important that we begin in earnest now to put Dun Laoghaire forward on this. It would be a huge boost, and we hadn't even considered the concept. It's a shame."

But Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council said it did not apply to be a stopover port for the 2012 Volvo Ocean Race because of the costs.

"The costs associated with hosting such an event are substantial, and we weren't in a position to underwrite these costs."

Cllr John Bailey (FG) said he intends to start talks which would lead to an application for the next Volvo Race.

"I proposed last Monday night to get a consortium together with Failte Ireland, the Chamber of Commerce and business people and the community."

"We've a natural seafront and it's natural for the Volvo Ocean Race. We're seriously going after it now, and I'm going to do everything in my power to encourage people to invest in it. We need to put substance, muscle and finance behind it."