2013 World Police and Fire Games

Culture, Arts and Leisure – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 3:45 am on 8th October 2007.

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Photo of David Hilditch David Hilditch DUP 3:45 am, 8th October 2007

6. asked the Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure to detail the support he is giving to assist with hosting the World Police and Fire Games in 2013.      (AQO 311/08)

Photo of Edwin Poots Edwin Poots DUP

My Department was actively involved in the bidding process to secure the World Police and Fire Games for Belfast in 2013, and it continues to work closely with the organising committee on the preparation of a strategy to ensure that the games are delivered in accordance with the World Police and Fire Games Federation’s requirements and the procurement and accountability practices of all stakeholders.

Photo of David Hilditch David Hilditch DUP

I am sure that the Minister will agree that hosting the games will be an excellent sporting success for Northern Ireland, with an expected 25,000 visitors to the greater Belfast area. What economic benefits are the games expected to bring to Northern Ireland?

Photo of Edwin Poots Edwin Poots DUP

The value of hosting that event cannot be overestimated. The total economic benefit of the games to Northern Ireland is predicted to be £19·293 million, which will come primarily from visitors from outside Northern Ireland. An economic-impact-ratio calculation in the draft strategic outline business case showed a projected return of £6·38 for every £1 of public-sector investment. That is a significant return on investment when compared to that of other major events.

Moreover, significant media coverage of the games is delivered around the world. Based on previous games, it is anticipated that the 2013 World Police and Fire Games will generate more than £500,000 from international television coverage, primarily in Northern Ireland’s key markets, which are the United States, Canada and Europe.

Photo of Thomas Burns Thomas Burns Social Democratic and Labour Party

Does the Minister’s Department support the first ever all-island emergency service games that were held in Dublin at the weekend? Will he support the staging of those games in Northern Ireland in 2008?

Photo of Edwin Poots Edwin Poots DUP

No one has ever before brought that matter to my attention, or lobbied on it. Everything will be given due consideration if it is brought to my attention.

Photo of Tom Elliott Tom Elliott UUP

Will the Minister inform the House of what other major sporting or cultural events he has secured for, or is hoping to attract to, Northern Ireland during the five-year period of 2008-12?

Photo of Edwin Poots Edwin Poots DUP

Among those events that are being bid for are football matches in the 2012 Olympic Games. We are also considering UEFA events for the under-21s, which would be held in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Aside from those events, we have bid for the World Transplant Games, and a series of bids for significant sporting events has been launched by the Northern Ireland Events Company. The World Police and Fire Games is the second-largest world sporting event, after the Olympics. That is why I said — at the outset — that the benefits that that event could bring to Northern Ireland’s community cannot be overestimated.