DESPITE months of preparation in assembling a top class bid, Limerick has lost out to Paris in the race to host the 2018 Gay Games.
The final presentation was made by the bid team in Cleveland late yesterday, with Paris announced as the winner ahead of Limerick and London late on Monday night.
The team from Limerick flew out of Shannon Airport on Thursday and presented their bid to over 100 delegates in Ohio.
While the bid was well received - and had been whittled down from an initial grouping of several cities worldwide over the last 18 months - Paris was named as the selected city for the games, which had been estimated to have been potentially worth millions to the local economy if held here.
10,000 participants from 70 countries and over 12,000 spectators are expected to attend the games in 2018.
Limerick had presented second from the final three cities to the Federation of Gay Games on Friday in Ohio.
Speaking ahead of the presentation Cillian Flynn, Press & Communications Coordinator for Limerick 2018, said that the team intended to “do our best and showcase how Limerick and Ireland is ready to host Gay Games 10 and celebrate the legacy of the games but also help develop and create lasting infrastructure around LGBT sports and the issues facing Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender people in Ireland”.
Taking to Twitter after Paris was announced as the host city, Mr Flynn said: “What a day....thanks for the support and messages!!! You guys are amazing!!!”
Commiserations flowed from public representatives and supporters of the bid, which had widespread support from the local authorities, business communities and tourism bodies in the region.
Sean Kelly MEP praised the bid team for their “vision” in seeking to host the Gay Games in Limerick - and Ireland - for the first time.
“I would like to commend the Limerick 2018 Gay Games Organising Committee for their determination in executing this campaign bid for Limerick and Ireland,” he said.
“It is a credit to their organisational ability that they beat off well financed campaigns from other competitor hosts cities, such as, Orlando and Amsterdam. They deserve special credit for being short-listed alongside London, as runners-up tonight to the winning bid city of Paris.”
Sinn Fein councillor Maurice Quinlivan quickly took to Twitter, saying: “Congrats to Paris, regrets to #Limerick as Gay Games 2018 go to Paris.”