Gigs, concerts and spectator sports could begin to return as soon as next month, according to the Arts Minister.
The Government aims to hold a range of test events in both indoor and outdoor venues, ahead of any full reopening.
On The Hard Shoulder this evening, the Minister for Arts, Culture and Sport Catherine Martin said she is aiming to hold the events around the country in June.
“I'm keen to conduct a number of these events across music, culture, entertainment [and] sport in both large and small-scale venues,” she said. “Indoor and outdoor.”
"Not only in Dublin, but outside the capital city as well. The pilot events will be key to that re-opening so I'm keen to get them done as soon as possible."
She said the original plan was to begin holding pilot events in July; however, she now aims to “turn this around in June.”
“I'm anxious from my engagement with the stakeholders,” she said. “They need this as soon as possible, as soon as it's safe to do so.
“As minister, I am aiming to get some of these pilot events done by June.”
She noted that the sooner the test events are out of the way, the sooner the arts, sports and entertainment sectors can reopen - and suggested there may still be a chance for Electric Picnic to go ahead in September.
“I am cautiously hopeful for events like that but again, it is hard to rule something out and it is hard to rule something in - so that is why I won’t give a definite answer on this,” she said.
“That is where the pilot events are crucial in helping these events happen.”
Minister Martin is currently in talks with Festival Republic, which last week held a test music event in Liverpool, attended by 5,000 people.
Attendees were required to take a Rapid Lateral Flow (RLF) test centre 24 hours before the show began as well as a further test after the event.
The event was held without masks or social distancing.
Minister Martin said rapid antigen testing will likely play a role in next month’s events.
“If you look at Liverpool, everyone had to produce a test to enter the event so I do think that the antigen testing has a role to play in these pilot events as we have seen elsewhere in Europe, so yes, I see that happening,” she said.
She also noted that the Government is now fine-tuning the Return To Sport report that was compiled by the FAI, the IRFU and the GAA.