The Irish Rugby Football Union has formally announced its intention to submit a bid to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup in Ireland.

IRFU chief executive Philip Browne said that having the cooperation between North and South engerising the entire Island will set Ireland's bid apart.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Six One, Mr Browne said that Ireland has the physical infrastructure to host the tournament and that it has received good support from the GAA.

He said that Casement Park in Belfast would be the anchor stadium.

Mr Browne said that Government's North and South have agreed to step in should there be a shortfall in the tournament fee.

"The technical bid has to tick all of the boxes for Rugby World Cup," said Mr Browne. "But on top of that what makes the difference up is the pointed difference between our bid and any other bid, is the narrative we can weave around the bid itself; to energise the entire island and to have the cooperation between North and South.

“I think that's probably the real narrative behind this, it's a unifying force. Sport bringing unity together."

Speaking at this morning's announcement, which took place at a function in The Royal School, Co Armagh, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said: "I am delighted to formally announce the Government's support, in conjunction with the Northern Ireland Executive, to formally back the IRFU's bid to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

"Ireland will put together a winning bid that will be impossible to resist.

"We have the fans, the stadiums, and the accessibility to make it a World Cup to remember. Irish people love our sport. We are passionate about sport and we celebrate it."

Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson added: "I fully support this bid by the IRFU to bring an elite international sporting event to the home of one of the powerhouses of world rugby.

"It would be a tremendous achievement to see the IRFU host the Rugby World Cup 2023.

"This bid shows the ambition of the Northern Ireland Executive and our determination to bring world class international sporting events to Northern Ireland."

Ireland's bid to host the Rugby World Cup in 2023 is officially launched

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said: "I fully endorse the IRFU bid to bring the Rugby World Cup to Ireland in 2023.

"Rest assured we will put together a robust and compelling bid to bring this sporting spectacle to Ireland.

"This would involve teams coming to Ireland weeks in advance for training camps providing a major boost to the tourism industry and that's before the supporters from across the world descend.

"In 2007 the Rugby World Cup broadcast in over 200 countries and attracted a television audience of 4.2 billion so the potential audience is huge."

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Paschal Donohue said that it is an enormously significant moment that the Island has come together to put a bid in and that he is confident Ireland will win.

Mr Donohue told RTÉ's News At One that it would be the third largest event of its kind on Irish shores, bringing at least 380,000 people to see it.

He said that, if successful, existing venues would be used, with the potential for some upgrading.

The minister said that one of the reasons for the bid is that, if successful, it would be played around the September/October period, when visitors numbers tend to decrease.

He said that he has received very important support from the GAA in relation to the bid.

"This is the third largest sporting event of its kind in the world. And it's an enormously significant moment that the Island has come together to put a bid in.

“It would be the first time, in our history, to achieve a sporting event of that scale on our shores," he said.

“And I'm certain that we are going to put in an unbelievably strong bid; the competition will be very very strong, but I am confident that we will win it."