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NI economy set to lose £12m as North West 200 cancelled

The 2020 North West 200 was due to take place in May Credit: Pacemaker

One of the biggest sporting events in Northern Ireland, the North West 200, has been postponed.

The road races were due to take place from 10-16 May.

According to organisers, the event has been postponed on the advice and guidance of Government and public health officials, representatives of Causeway Coast and Glens Council, and the sport's governing body.

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"Our paramount desire is to act responsibly and do all we can to protect everyone from the threat posed by the virus," organisers said in a statement.

"We enjoy the full support of loyal sponsors and stakeholders in making this decision, but apologise for any inconvenience it has caused to them, our competitors, volunteers and race fans."

It is feared the cost to the economy could be in the region of £12m.

North Antrim MP Ian Paisley said he had spoken with Clerk of Course Mervyn White on the issue.

The local economy stands to lose £12m in turnover as a result and this will be impossible to replace. I’ve already asked the government to provide rate and VAT relief as well as other measures to help the local economy.

– Ian Paisley, DUP MP

Mr Paisley said: "This is not the first time the event has faced such challenges.

"During the foot and mouth crisis, the race was cancelled and during one year, a bomb scare seriously disrupted racing.

"The organisers of the race always put NI first and have the interests of Northern Ireland at heart.

"I know this will be a difficult decision, but I can only support the Coleraine and District club for showing leadership."

It comes as the EURO 2020 tournament has been postponed to 2021. Watch our report here: