By Duncan Mackay

Limerick Gay GamesJune 29 - Inspection visits to the three cities shortlisted to host the 2018 Gay Games are due to begin next Wednesday (July 3) when a team visits Limerick.

The delegation from the Federation of Gay Games (FGG) will spend three days in the Irish city before travelling to Paris and then concluding their tour in London.

Limerick, known as the Treaty City because of the agreement in 1691 which signalled the end of Williamite war in Ireland which was fought between supporters of the Catholic King James II and the Protestant King William of Orange, is considered the outsider in the three-city race, especially with London proposing using may of the facilties built for last year's Olympics and Paralympics.

But the city, the third biggest in Ireland, is optimistic that they can pull off a shock and have been working with the country's national tourism development authority, Fáilte Ireland, and the Shannon Region Conference & Sports Bureau, to organise the visit. 

If Limerick's bid is successful it is estimated that it would be worth up to €50 million (£43 million/$65 million) to the local economy with more than 10,000 competitors expected to take part.

"The Bureau have been working in partnership with Fáilte Ireland and the Limerick 2018 bid Committee to ensure a really memorable trip to Limerick for the site inspection committee," said Karen Brosnahan, manager of Shannon Region Conference & Sports Bureau.

"They have a very busy schedule seeing over 25 venues plus hotels while her.

"We are doing our utmost to make sure they have a fun time in the process and get to experience what we are famous for, our hospitality and warm welcome.

"If secured this will be an incredible event both from an economic impact perspective and also in terms of putting Limerick on the map as the world-class destination it is for events."

London 2012 from airIf London is awarded the 2018 Gay Games then the facilities built for the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics are among those that will host events

The announcement of the winning city is due to be made at the FGG Annual Conference on October 7 in Cleveland, Ohio, host city of the 2014 Games.

"[The inspection team] will spend three-and-a-half days in each city, visiting the key venues, meeting the leaders of the bidding organisations, and attending community events," said Kurt Dahl, Co-President of the FGG.

"At the end of these visits, the inspectors will prepare a report for the FGG site selection meeting which will take place at the Federation's Annual General Assembly.

"After various committee reports, Q&A sessions, and the official bidder presentations, the voting members of the Assembly will choose the host of Gay Games X."

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