Mr. Murphy stated that prior negotiations over a combined proposal to host the Grand Depart of the most renowned cycling race in the world in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland had been halted due to the lack of a Stormont Executive.

However, he was now interested in investigating the potential benefits of bringing the event to the island.

The 2014 Giro D'Italia was praised for its positive effects on tourism and the economy, with stages held on both sides of the Irish border.

Mr. Murphy was asked if there were any intentions to make an all-Ireland proposal to host the Tour de France's preliminary stages during ministerial question time.

“Discussions regarding an all-Ireland bid to host the Tour de France Grand Depart were halted in July 2023, primarily because there was no executive present,” he stated.

“Since taking office, I have given my officials the order to resume that conversation.”

“The expense of the offer would have to be balanced against the advantages as part of those discussions.”

“I do note that in 2014 when the Giro D'Italia Grande Partenza was hosted in Ireland, it generated around £2.5 million pounds in economic activity, £12.7 million in tourism impact and around 227,000 visitors.”

MLA for Sinn Féin minister was questioned by Philip McGuigan on the financial advantages of bringing major sporting events to Northern Ireland, such the Tour and Euro 2028.

Speaking on the financial challenges of the Executive at the moment, Mr. Murphy stated: “I believe it is widely acknowledged that, of course, it does require some upfront investment and that is a time when we are very, very challenged financially.”

“However, I believe that the majority of these significant events have demonstrated, and that it would be no different if we could also secure the arrival of the Euros. All these events would typically have a more durable and advantageous effect on the economy, especially in terms of tourism, which is a key component of our industry and a growing market for us.

"So yes, I would certainly be approaching from the point of view of what the investment can achieve.” The question is for the department to weigh if we can achieve the required funding against all their other priorities.

“But I look forward to doing the analysis, rejoining the discussion on that which had been parked as a consequence of no Executive and see what the estimations are for it and what we can hope to achieve.”