Maximise WRC Rally Boost For West: MacSharry

Picture: (Sardinia Rally), by Adam McCalden

A west of Ireland politician has called for some forward thinking ahead of the rerun of a major international sporting event to the area next year.

Sligo Senator Marc MacSharry said he thinks the area needs to think of how the North West can capitalise from the great exposure, which Rally Ireland 2009 is likely to create for the region.

He recalled that Sligo played host to Rally Ireland in November 2007 and this proved to be of huge economic benefit for the entire North West region.

He said that while recent research has shown that the majority of spectators spent just one night in the area during the 2007 event - this could be built upon.

With almost seven months to go until Rally Ireland comes to Sligo again, Senator MacSharry said it's time everyone puts their heads together and come up with a strategy as to how we can use this event to further boost tourist numbers to the region.

Rally Ireland announced the scope of their World Rally Championship (WRC) event, which takes place at the end of January 2009 earlier this month.

Following their success in November 2007, the event has been given the privilege to launch the WRC season, replacing the famous Monte Carlo rally.

While next year's event will again visit a total of eight counties, including Leitrim, Donegal, Sligo, Fermanagh, Tyrone, Roscommon, Cavan and Antrim, organisers have sought to bring the rally to locations that the event has not visited before.

The Rally Ireland organising committee, who have been working since the start of the year, will present the finalised route to the world sport governing body, the FIA, for approval at the end this month.

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