Written answers

Wednesday, 28 April 2021

Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht

Covid-19 Pandemic

Photo of Róisín ShortallRóisín Shortall (Dublin North West, Social Democrats)
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387. To ask the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if she will address matters raised in correspondence in relation to non-elite sports (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22031/21]

Photo of Jack ChambersJack Chambers (Dublin West, Fianna Fail)
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In the context of the Government’s COVID-19 Resilience and Recovery Plan 2021 – The Path Ahead, it has been agreed that the public health restrictions will be subject to ongoing review taking account of the evolving epidemiological situation and available evidence in relation to vaccine deployment, uptake and effectiveness. Any easing of measures should be slow and gradual with sufficient time between phases to assess impact and to respond if the epidemiological situation was to deteriorate. It will take account of emerging international and national evidence and experience and with a specific focus on supporting mental health and wellbeing.

As part of that gradual easing of measures, training for National Governing Body sanctioned and organised adult inter-county National Gaelic Games Leagues (not including under 20 or minor competitions) has resumed with effect from Monday, the 19th of April. No decision has yet been made by Government on when competitive play may resume for the Gaelic Games.

The distinction drawn between elite and non-elite sports and athletes is to be understood in the specific context of the requirement to devise a gradual return to sport in a measured way that involves a limited numbers of participants, locations and travel movements, combined with a capacity and capability to oversee the effective implementation of safety protocols. In contrast, club-level, non-elite activity cannot realistically be expected to be in a position to replicate the same demanding operational environment.

As we move into the Summer it is my expectation that we will continue to see a gradual easing of the measures applying to sport, including the return of organised adult training and competition, when the public health situation allows.


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