Richie McCormack
Richie McCormack

20.18 15 Oct 2020


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The Tanaiste Leo Varadkar has warned there will be no All Ireland Championships if Level-5 coronavirus restrictions are imposed. 

As things stand, inter-county action is due to resume this weekend with the Allianz Leagues.

Most of the country is operating under Level-3 restrictions, with the border counties of Cavan, Monaghan and Donegal at Level-4.

It had been thought that the All Ireland Championships would be exempt from Level-5 restrictions, were they to be imposed to battle rising infection figures.

Leo Varadkar was asked about the impeding resumption of the inter-county season on Thursday's The Last Word.

"I do think it's feasible for inter-county, elite sports to continue," the Tanaiste said, "We'll see international competitions - for example - continue. And I wouldn't like to see Irish teams or Irish athletes having to pull out of international competitions.

"But it is difficult for the GAA in particular, because they are amateur athletes and they can't be bubbled and cocooned in a way that Premiership players can be, or even provincial rugby players can be.

"But it can be done, and it obviously has to be done with no spectators."

Partial letter from CMO Tony Holohan to Health Minister Stephen Donnelly

When asked if the GAA remained the arbiters of whether games can continue, the Tanaiste said they are under the current restrictions.

When pressed if there would be no All Ireland Championships under Level-5 restrictions, Leo Varadkar said they'd be off.

The Government's Living With Covid roadmap states there would be "no games or events" under Level-5, but an exemption exists as put forward by the Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan.

In writing to the Health Minister Stephen Donnelly last week, Dr. Holohan stipulated, "No matches or sports events are permitted — exemption for professional/elite/ senior inter-county/horse-racing behind closed doors".

At time of writing, the GAA are yet to respond to the Tanaiste's comments.


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