Written answers

Tuesday, 13 October 2020

Department of Health

Physical Education

Photo of Holly CairnsHolly Cairns (Cork South West, Social Democrats)
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576. To ask the Minister for Health the reason extracurricular sporting activities for young persons are classified differently to in-school sporting activities (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30353/20]

Photo of Stephen DonnellyStephen Donnelly (Wicklow, Fianna Fail)
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As the Deputy is aware, the Resilience and Recovery 2020-2021: Plan for Living with COVID-19 was published by the Government on 15 September, 2020. This Plan provides a framework setting out Ireland's approach to managing and living with COVID-19 in a range of areas over the next 6 - 9 months.

The Government has identified the reopening of our schools as a priority and the Plan acknowledges the key role of schools in supporting not just the academic progress of our children and young people, but their overall physical and mental health and well-being as well. Schools support the physical and mental health of students through a range of interventions, including PE classes.

Ensuring that schools, early childhood care and education, childcare and childminding services can remain safely open in the context of any escalation of restrictive measures remains a Government priority. At levels 1-4 inclusive of the Plan for Living with COVID-19 schools and creches can remain open with protective measures. At level 5, recommendations will be based on the situation and evidence at the time. Decisions regarding whether schools and creches can remain open in the context of escalation to level 5 will be informed by Public Health advice.

Up-to-date Government advice and resources in the context of COVID-19 is published at

As the Deputy is aware, Ireland has moved from a short-term emergency response to a medium-term approach to managing risk and repairing the damage that COVID-19 has inflicted on society. All counties in Ireland are currently at Level 3 of the Plan for Living with COVID-19 until midnight Tuesday 27th October. I of course recognise the difficulties and the inconvenience that this represents for many people, particularly children. Hence the reason we are making such strenuous efforts to prioritise the continuation of schooling for all. However, in line with all of the public health advice, there also unfortunately continues to be a requirement to limit our social contacts to the greatest extent possible.

Further information on the public health measures currently in place can be found at


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