DISSAPOINTMENT was the prevailing mood amongst well-known figures in Cork’s business, political and sporting spheres following the news that Ireland has withdrawn from the bidding process to host the 37th America's Cup.
In a statement on Monday evening, the Department of Tourism and Sport said it had spent the last six months assessing the feasibility of Ireland hosting the event but ultimately the decision was taken not to proceed with a bid.
The Department said that while Cork harbour is "potentially a great venue for the event", based on the technical assessment carried out, the "necessary infrastructural and planning arrangements would not be in place to host the event in 2024".
Costs associated with hosting the event were also cited as a deciding factor.
President of Cork Chamber, Paula Cogan said the withdrawal of the America’s Cup bid is a missed opportunity with potential reputational damage.
"The gains associated with hosting the event had the potential to significantly outweigh the expenditure that would have been required to host it, and projects such as this require greater ambition and real engagement with local stakeholders.
"Lessons must be learned from this, only time will tell whether there will be reputational damage when consideration is being given to Ireland for hosting future global bids," she said.
Head of Visit Cork, Seamus Heaney said the news was disappointing but that he respects the decision made.
"We’d have all loved it. We’d have all loved to have seen Cork up there in lights but unfortunately, that won’t be the case.
"We can’t have sour grapes though. The Government did its due diligence. That showed up that it wasn’t for Ireland on this occasion.”
This was echoed by Fine Gael councillor Des Cahill.
"It's disappointing news for Cork. It would have been a major tourist event for the city and county.
"But I respect the Government decision as they were clearly not convinced with the finances,” he said.
Socialist Party TD for Cork North Central, Mick Barry said hosting the event "would have involved a high level of public expenditure without guarantees of even coming close to break-even".
"I'd say put the money into grassroots sport instead,” he added.
Meanwhile, Donal McClement, a co-founder of Cork Week, a yacht broker and a yachtsman who has successfully competed at the highest international level, acknowledged that the Government must have been caught “between a rock and a hard place” with potential backlash on the decision either way, but he personally felt it is a missed opportunity for Cork.
“I’m very sad it’s not happening because we have the facilities in Cork. We have the ability.
“We have the people who have been involved at a very senior level in offshore racing and in sailboat racing who could contribute dramatically to it.”