Irish government ready to prioritize WRC

Ministers are working closely with Motorsport Ireland to bring the world championship back to Ireland in 2026

Rally Ireland, Sligo 29/1-1/2 2009

The Irish government will engage with Motorsport Ireland “as a matter of priority” in an effort to land a round of the World Rally Championship in 2026.

As reported earlier this year, Ireland’s hopes of a return to the WRC next season were stymied by the need for further investigation into the required €5m funding across three years.

A letter leaked to DirtFish has confirmed those meetings and that process is under way, with Thomas Byrne, Minister of State for Sport, Physical Education and the Gaeltacht stating: “I have asked department officials to engage with Motorsport Ireland, as a matter of priority.”

Byrne said: “On 1 May, I held a positive and constructive meeting with Motorsport Ireland and the WRC promoter at my department. At that meeting, I reiterated my department’s openness to considering the scope for support for a possible future Irish hosting of the WRC, but that it would have to be later than 2025 to allow for a more detailed and extensive economic assessment.

“Following this meeting, I am pleased to note that Motorsport Ireland has since written to me, on 21 May, and confirmed that that the WRC promoter has confirmed that alternative hosting years are possible for Ireland to host rounds of the FIA World Rally Championship. On this basis, I have asked department officials to engage with Motorsport Ireland, as a matter of priority.”


Motorsport Ireland President Aiden Harper revealed details of its WRC bid in January

In a statement regarding the continued co-operation between the Irish government and Motorsport Ireland, MI president Aiden Harper said: “This is a progressive step in Motorsport Ireland’s plans to bring the World Rally Championship back to this island.

“Over the last month we have had constructive discussions with Minister Byrne and WRC Promoter and we look forward to assisting department officials with any additional information they require while carrying out their analysis.

“I greatly appreciate Minister Byrne’s commitment to undertaking the necessary assessments to consider an event of this nature. Ireland has demonstrated it can hold international motorsport events in the past and I have no doubt we will again in the future.”

Ireland’s last WRC qualifier ran as a cross-border event based out of Sligo in 2009.