Ireland’s Women’s National Team, the first Irish team to qualify for the FIFA Women’s World Cup, were celebrated at Farmleigh House this evening (Tuesday 4 July) as Taoiseach Leo Varadkar TD, Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Micheál Martin TD, Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media Catherine Martin TD, and Minister of State for Sport and Physical Education Thomas Byrne TD led tributes to Vera Pauw and her players and coaches.
Speaking at the event, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said:
“Qualification for world tournaments does not come easily. It is through the hard work, commitment and dedication of the players, coaches and everyone involved with this team that Ireland’s place at the world cup was secured.
“On behalf of the Government and the Irish public, I congratulate the team on reaching the world cup finals and wish them all the very best as they head off to represent Ireland on the world stage.”
The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Micheál Martin, said:
“This is a moment to celebrate a brilliant and historic achievement by the Ireland team, and to reflect on the powerful contribution of Irish women to sport. With their qualification for the World Cup, they join a long list of women who have represented our country at the highest level, in turn inspiring a generation of girls to come.
“It’s a real testament to the team, and their fans, that our first match is expected to sell out to a crowd of over 82,000. As always, our Embassy in Canberra and the Consulate General in Sydney are on hand to support our Irish communities in Australia, and DFA will be providing consular information to fans travelling for the World Cup. I wish the team every success in the coming tournament.”
Minister Catherine Martin said:
“As the first Irish team to achieve qualification, this team and everyone involved with it is now part of Irish sporting history. I am delighted that I can announce additional programme funding of up to €500,000 to support the women’s game this evening. I feel that the impact this team has made, along with our other female sports stars, can inspire the next generation of young girls to excel in their chosen sports.
“I think we can be certain that Ireland’s World Cup games will attract a huge audience here at home. It is great that people will get to see women’s football played at the highest standard and I have no doubt that the Irish team will make a great contribution to the tournament.”
Minister Thomas Byrne said:
“Ireland’s participation at the World Cup will ensure the continued growth of women’s and girls’ football in Ireland. The team is inspiring so many young girls around the country to take up football. In recognition of this, I am delighted that we can provide additional programme funding of up to €500,000 to support the women’s game. This funding will be provided to the FAI, through Sport Ireland, for investment in the areas of coaching, grassroots and female leadership.
“I have no doubt the team will be great ambassadors for Ireland and for Irish sport. The whole nation is very proud of the team and what they have achieved. I wish Vera and all of the players, coaches and backroom staff the very best of luck and I hope you all enjoy what will be a wonderful experience in your football careers.”
The Irish team will depart for Australia on Friday 7 July and their first game is an 82,500 fan sellout fixture against the co-hosts at Sydney’s Stadium Australia on Thursday 20 July.