Electric Picnic should go ahead next month, a Fine Gael Senator has said.
Regina Doherty also says senior ministers should be “embarrassed” that they left Arts & Culture Minister Catherine Martin out of key meetings about easing restrictions on live events.
She was speaking as Government prepares to finalise its roadmap for the next phase of reopening.
It’s believed NPHET has now given the green light for most remaining restrictions to be eased across September and October.
However, health officials have cautioned some measures shouldn’t be eased until after the peak of the Delta wave of the virus.
Senior ministers meet tomorrow to discuss the recommendations, ahead of a full Cabinet meeting next Tuesday.
Much of the debate in recent weeks has been around the return of live events and concerts.
The organisers of Electric Picnic have claimed they need a decision or engagement from the Government today so they can get the site up and running in time to hold the festival next month.
Laois County Council has insisted it is unable to reverse its decision to refuse to grant the festival a licence, but reports today suggest senior Government ministers are now looking for a way for the event to go ahead.
Senator Doherty told Newstalk Breakfast this shouldn’t have been left until the last minute.
She said: “It should go ahead - people want to get their lives back.
“What’s maybe being lost in the conversation… is that 37,000 haven’t worked for 500 days. That’s the conversation we should be having.
“It’s a real shame that the conversation or question wasn’t asked by Cabinet ministers a couple of weeks ago, instead of finding ourselves down to the absolute wire.
“We had a senior female Cabinet minister literally begging in the media to attend a meeting, so proposals she had on this very area could be discussed and aired. People should be embarrassed by that.”
She said those who are working in the sector now deserve to have answers to the questions Minister Martin was asking.
However, she said it’s also great to hear the recent optimistic comments and tone from NPHET around the easing of restrictions.
She said: “The letter that came from the CMO last night and is going to Cabinet… probably has some of the most exciting language we’ve heard from them in 18-19 months.
“I’ve been critical of them, so I want to be complimentary - when we finally hear some good news from them, it’s time to get giddy and excited about it. People want their lives back.”