Members of the entertainment industry have expressed frustration at seeing crowds ‘crammed like sardines’ around Croke Park yesterday.
40,000 people attended the All Ireland final between Cork and Limerick yesterday - the largest event held since the pandemic began.
However, there was particular frustration on social media over the large crowds seen outside pubs and other premises near the stadium.
Representatives of the live events and music industries have repeatedly said they’re frustrated that such large crowds are allowed to gather for sporting events, despite no indication yet as to when live music events will be allowed to resume.
There was also widespread criticism about the limited level of mask-wearing in the crowd at the match, despite the GAA having urged fans to follow the public health advice.
It comes as health officials and Government ministers meet this week to discuss a further easing of restrictions - with ministers pleading a reopening roadmap will be published next week.
On The Pat Kenny Show, Cathal Molloy of the Wedding Band Association says they urgently want a date and roadmap for reopening.
He said: “I think even the public are feeling the pain of the live entertainment and events industry right now.
“To police masks is very difficult. What really got on our wick yesterday was looking at the crowds almost sardined into streets - those were the visuals we were witnessing.
“At the moment, a couple can’t have a first dance [at a wedding]... that’s the frustration. It’s nonsensical.
“We’re really baffled as to why we’re being neglected.”
He called on the Taoiseach and Tánaiste to attend the industry’s meeting with Arts & Culture Minister Catherine Martin later this week.
Promoter Buzz O'Neill, meanwhile, says small trial music events are a "waste of time and money" when such large-scale sporting events are happening.
He said: "I think the main takeaway from this it isn't about compliance and mask-wearing - it's about the fact there are 40,000 people allowed congregate in that one stadium for three to four hours.
"The simple thing we ask: why is that not allowed right across the board, in entertainment and live music?"
"No sense of equality, fairness or consistency"
Sunil Sharpe of the Give Us The Night campaign says members of the entertainment industry were expecting the sort of scenes they saw yesterday.
He said: “I’m happy for the GAA and those who were at the match - I think it’s good to see events and gatherings come back.
“But it does lead to lots of questions, and compound the frustration a lot of us are feeling.
“There’s no sense of equality, fairness or consistency around the decision-making.”
He suggested reopening seems to be happening ‘seasonally’, in parallel with the opening or closing of schools.
However, he argued that the changes should be happening on a ‘real-time’ or week-by-week basis - saying the current situation is “desperately frustrating”.
He noted that his group completely supports the use of rapid COVID testing to facilitate the return of events.
He said: "There's not a country that I know of that isn't using antigen testing."
Meanwhile, gardaí today said they inspected a number of licensed premises around Croke Park yesterday.
A number of pubs were asked to close in the interest of public safety.
The force says they’re now also carrying out enquiries into alleged breaches of COVID-19 regulations at one of these premises.