Darren Clarke believes the Irish Open will go ahead next year - and it could be set for the Posh and Becks treatment by JP McManus.

The early indications are that luxurious Luttrellstown Castle - owned by a consortium of Irish millionaires led by racing tycoon McManus - is available to host the ailing event from 14-17 May.

The five star Dublin venue, where David and Victoria Beckham married in 1999, was bought for an estimated €200 million by the Sloane Capital property group led by McManus, John Magnier and Limerick property mogul Aidan Brooks two years ago.

And Players Committee member Clarke hinted during the Portugal Masters that the future of the Irish Open is looking more positive that it did when the 2009 schedule was announced two weeks ago.

Pointing to behind-the-scenes work by European Tour boss George O'Grady, Clarke said: “There are very, very positive signs but I cannot divulge anymore because I am on the Tournament Committee. All I can say is that there are very positive signs that the event will go ahead.

“It will be a shame if there is no Irish Open but hopefully with all the work that George is doing, we will have an Irish Open.

“It looked pretty bad a couple of weeks ago when the schedule was released and the Irish Open was put down without a venue.

“But there is a lot of work going on behind the scenes to try and make sure the event goes on.”

More than €20 million has been spent upgrading the course and clubhouse at Luttrellstown Castle over the past three years and the par-72 parkland track now measures a stern 7,347 yards off the back tees.

Clarke’s stablemate Lee Westwood is certainly shocked that the Irish Open is struggling to find backing with eight Irish victories on tour this season, including double Major wins by Padraig Harrington.

And he suggest that the Irish government or even Harrington himself could come to the rescue.

Westwood said: “It is difficult to imagine there not being an Irish Open. It’s poor, really. There has got to be some way, especially the history the Irish have had on tour recently, the Ryder Cups and that. There must be some way of bailing it out.

“It’s always got a pretty good field. I suppose if they put it nearer to the Open on a links course it might help, it might attract a few other names.

“Maybe the Irish Government could bail it out the Irish Open. After all, they were able to bail all the banks out. Look how many people from Ireland play golf. It’s terrible they might not be able to go and see tournament golf in their own country next year.

“You’ve had eight tournament wins on Tour this year and a double Major-winner. It’s bizarre you may not have a tournament there.

“Maybe Padraig could put some of his winnings into an Irish Open. With the year he’s just had it could be the richest event on tour.”

Given the economic climate and the Failte Ireland’s commitment to the 2011 Solheim Cup at Killeen Castle, it appears highly unlikely that the government will plough money into saving the Irish Open.

And while Westwood has suggested that Harrington could get involved, the Dubliner is fully focussing on adding to his Major haul.

Despite that, Clarke joked that Harrington has done so well over the past two years that he could easily afford to sponsor the event himself.

Grinning, Clarke said: “I think you could have a word with Padraig and persuade him to do it. With all that cash he's got he could spend a little of it and give it to the rest of us paupers.

“But it's pretty tough for active players to get involved in promoting event,  though Bernhard Langer has managed to do it with the German Masters.”

Clarke closed with a 66 in Portugal on Sunday to move from 14th to 11th in the Order of Merit.

The top 15 at the end of the season are guaranteed starts in the Open, the US Open and the US PGA next year and Clarke is determined to finish the job at the Volvo Masters next week.

He said: "It was a good last round to finish off the week and every Euro could make a difference to me trying to finish in the top-15 on the Order of Merit.

"I've only got one tournament left, the Volvo Masters, and the top-15 has been a big goal for me this year and maybe a little extra euro could make a difference.”