Thursday, 18 November 2021
Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht
174. To ask the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the discussions she has had with Sport Ireland in relation to the reason that adult non-vaccinated players cannot take part in basketball matches given younger unvaccinated players are allowed play in such competitions; if Sport Ireland has provided her with medical evidence supporting its policies; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [56723/21]
The Return to Sport Expert Group, which is chaired by an official of my Department, was set up last year to provide guidance to the National Governing Bodies of sport and other sporting bodies with a view to facilitating consistency of their return to train/play/spectating protocols with the prevailing public health advice. The Expert Group includes medical personnel from a range of sporting organisations, and it is in this context that Sport Ireland receives expert medical opinion to ensure a safe return to Sport.
At its meeting on 19 October 2021, and following consideration of the public health advice, Government agreed that additional aspects of society could reopen only with the full range of protective measures in place. As such, current restrictions under the Government’s plan state that organisers of indoor and outdoor group activities should ensure that appropriate protective measures are in place. For indoor sports, this means:
- The use of the EU Digital COVID Certificate (vaccine or recovery certificate) will be required for accessing indoor sporting activities and events.
- Where individuals have mixed immunity status, pods of up to 6 participants will be permitted (excluding adult coaches/instructors).
- Multiple pods will be permissible subject to protective measures.
- The overall number of pods will have regard to the size of venue and there should be substantial social distance between individual pods.
- For Vaccinated individuals no fixed capacity limits apply to these activities.
- Vaccinated spectators attending indoor sporting events should be fully seated.
The Government's decision on 5th November to widen the range of sporting opportunities for young people, so as to enable under 18 indoor sports games and competitions in sports such as basketball to go ahead, responds to the widely expressed viewpoint from parents in particular about the important physical and mental wellbeing benefits of such sport to young people. The decision also recognises that children under the age of 12 are not currently eligible for vaccination, in contrast to other age cohorts in the population.
Updated guidance has been provided by Sport Ireland to sporting organisations to allow children under 18 years of age to participate in indoor games and competition activities according to the ordinary rules and limits of the sport concerned and subject to the implementation of various mitigation measures. The full guidance can be accessed on the Sport Ireland website at:
175. To ask the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the reason a business (details supplied) in County Kerry that commenced trading in July 2020 and provided outdoor dining is being excluded from the outdoor seating grant scheme; if this decision will be reviewed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [56762/21]
177. To ask the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the reason a business (details supplied) in County Kerry that commenced trading in 2021 and provided outdoor dining is being excluded from the outdoor seating grant scheme; if this decision will be reviewed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [56821/21]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 175 and 177 together.
As the Outdoor Dining Enhancement Scheme is an operational matter for Fáilte Ireland, I have referred the matter on to the agency for direct response to the Deputy. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days.