Marita Moloney
Marita Moloney

13.35 23 May 2021


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The Minister for Transport says trials will begin soon on preparing for the return of large public events.

Eamon Ryan said small sporting and cultural events will be held soon in anticipation of bigger gatherings towards the end of the summer.

His comments come after reports that up to 30,000 fans will be allowed to attend the All Ireland football and hurling finals this August.

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The Mail on Sunday reports that the Government will speed up its plans for the resumption of events, including the return of fans to sporting fixtures.

The Minister for Culture Catherine Martin has also indicated that she wants to hold pilot events next month, which could include live music.

Speaking to On The Record with Gavan Reilly, Minister Ryan said the large attendance at the GAA finals could be possible.

"I think we have to test and trial different ways of doing it through the early part of the summer," he said.

"But at that stage, we should have a huge amount of the population vaccinated and through the use of these trials have safe ways of having those public events.

"We'll start small around the country with different types of events, obviously more outdoor than indoor, sporting as well as cultural, and by the end of the summer, on the basis of those trials, be able to do a lot more public events."

Eamon Ryan expects large sporting and cultural events to return by the end of the summer

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Such trials will address issues such as social distancing requirements and crowd capacity, he said.

"It all depends on what happens with new variants and so on, but we should be planning now to get our country back, we're on the slow, gradual tested safe recovery path," the Minister added.

Meanwhile, NPHET are due to meet on Thursday ahead of an announcement from the Taoiseach on Friday on the roadmap for further reopenings in June and July.

Cabinet is set to discuss "comprehensive" plans for the return of travel, aviation, entertainment and sport at the end of next week.

International travel

Minister Ryan reiterated his comments that foreign travel and holidays will resume "later in the summer".

Further information on a clear timeline for international travel returning will be released during Friday's announcement, he stated.

"We're going to continue with the hotel quarantine system but we're going to refine it so it will be really targeting those variants that are of real concern, particularly any variant showing it might be immune to a vaccine system," he said.

"What we committed to as a Government before the end of May was setting out a strategy for international travel, just as we need to start planning for the return to colleges and offices.

"International travel is important, we need it for direct investment in our country, people haven't seen family in years, when it's safe, and only when it's safe, to see it coming back."

Departure Gates sign at Dublin Airport Dublin Airport on a Friday Morning in February 2021. Photo: Sam Boal / RollingNews.ie

It comes as EU officials are working to formally launch the Digital Green Cert, allowing for movement between member states.

Ireland will be part of the scheme, with the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly hoping to have it in place "as early as possible".

However, the Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has indicated that it will be August at the earliest before international trips are allowed again.

Minister Ryan said he would like to see the certificate system "expedited quickly", albeit in a safe way.

"I think [travel] will become a lot safer when the level of vaccination by the end of June is at levels that give us real protection, and at the rate the vaccination rollout is happening, that's going to happen sooner," he said,

"By the end of June, the EU will have set up its digital certificate system for vaccination, so if someone is vaccinated we'll have an easy to use way of ascertaining that, and that makes travel much more safe."

He added that he could not give specific dates on when international travel will be allowed.

A QR code presenting vaccination certificate, as well as recent PCR test results, is shown on smartphone at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, France. A QR code presenting a vaccination certificate, as well as recent PCR test results, is shown on a smartphone at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris. Picture by: Balkis Press/ABACA/ABACA/PA Images

The Green Party leader continued: "What I've been saying for the last two months is that I expect it later in the summer.

"The exact dates [will be] in July or early August or some such time and the benefit of that is it gives us time to see about the variants, what will happen in the UK, what will happen with our own numbers and what will happen with the vaccine programme.

"I expect Government to give an indication of those timelines at the end of next week and that will help the aviation industry because people will start planning.

From tomorrow, people in Northern Ireland will be allowed to travel abroad to green list countries with no requirement to quarantine on their return.

Responding to calls for Ireland to add the UK to the mandatory hotel quarantine list, Minister Ryan also explained that we should "beware of solutions that give you a false sense of security", adding that Ireland's border with the UK will be kept open.

Main image: Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan TD pictured in March. Credit: Julien Behal Photography / RollingNews.ie

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COVID-19 Restrictions Covid-19 Eamon Ryan Government Roadmap Green Part International Travel Large Events Minister For Transport

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