Taoiseach 'hopeful' of spectators at matches this summer


Jack Quann
Jack Quann

20.53 4 May 2021


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The Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said he is hopeful that spectators will be allowed back at sporting events from July.

He said the Government was considering several different options for matches and other fixtures.

As part of a wide-ranging interview on Off the Ball, he said protocols from last year are being updated.

"We would hope to do it this summer - we're going to trial, certainly, a number of events.

"I know Jack Chambers is involved with a group; there's a group that came together - IRFU, FAI, GAA - a working group of the Aviva Stadium.

"They drew up a very extensive protocol back in October, then the third wave came.

"So they're going to update that now.

"We've had Professor Mark Ferguson's report on antigen testing, we have the vaccinations.

"So we will be trialing some events - I think you're probably looking at July.

"The Government is working up plans now and over the next number of weeks towards that end.

"And also learning lessons from what's happened in the UK, and what's happening in other jurisdictions, to see how we can get fans back in in a safe way".

Asked if people would have to be vaccinated to attend a sporting event, Mr Martin said they are examining all options.

"I noticed in the UK they've done both vax and non-vaccinated people coming in, segregating them, so we will look at different options in that regard.

"There are issues around that, too, in terms of people's entitlements and rights and so on.

"But initially we'd like to trial it and get that right, and then hopefully be in a position to evolve in terms of fans being able to turn up and spectators turning up and different fixtures and different sporting events".

And he said other facilities, such as swimming pools, will be opening in June.

"The indoor area's going to have to be next - but the NPHET and public health has been very clear: the summer will be outdoors.

"We've got to keep control of this, we don't want to ever again to go back to Christmas.

"We are making great progress on this because of the vaccination, combined with the restrictions we've brought in.

"So I think the next stage - logically - once we have the outdoor situation more or less sorted, we move then on concentrating how we bring indoor sports back".

Main image: Taoiseach Michael Martin at a moderated Q&A at Dublin Castle, following an address on the Shared Island initiative in October 2020. Picture by: Julien Behal / RollingNews.ie

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