France has been chosen to host the tournament despite, last month, the Rugby World Cup board unanimously recommending to the World Rugby Council the selection of South Africa as the host nation.
With Ireland dropping out, France beat South Africa by 24 votes to 15 in the second round.
For if South Africa's 38-3 hammering by Ireland at the weekend was not painful enough, this loss felt even more dispiriting.
David Sterling, Head of Northern Ireland Civil Service: "I too would like to congratulate France and wish them well for a successful tournament in 2023".
Bernard Laporte, president of the French rugby union, had publicly complained about the evaluation report, saying it was "nonsense and full of errors" and accusing World Rugby of incompetence. "The set of rules were broken during that process, which we are upset about", he said, offering a few opaque comments of his own.
South Africa, which staged the 1995 World Cup and won it in their first appearance after missing the first two because of the apartheid sporting ban, had been odds-on favourite after coming out clearly on top in the evaluation report.
That recommendation was questioned last week by rivals, but endorsed a second time by World Rugby last week.
"World Rugby can confirm that it has addressed in full, clarification requests by the Rugby World Cup 2023 host candidates and council members", read World Rugby's statement. In that time we developed a world class proposition which reflected positively on Ireland and saw us formally acknowledged as a destination well capable of hosting a superb Rugby World Cup. "When the Fifa World Cup was held there in 2010, we had a more than 20 percent uptake in players". Unfortunately, the disappointing thing was that Scotland and Wales didn't support us.
"We did everything in our power to bring the tournament to South Africa and we expected to have that right confirmed today".
"However, the view of the experts and World Rugby's leadership was overturned by World Rugby Council members, who may have had other factors to take into account".
Mark Alexander, President of SA Rugby, stated the South Africa had accepted the result despite the disappointment.