Covid-19: Sporting bodies asked to present case for return of spectators

Catherine Martin asks for international evidence to feed into Government roadmap

Minister for Sport Catherine Martin has asked the heads of sporting organisations to examine the international evidence for spectators returning to events and present a case to the Government's expert group on sport.

It is understood the issue was discussed at a meeting with Ministers and the heads of major sporting organisations including the IRFU, FAI and GAA on Friday.

Ms Martin has asked the group to come back with considerations that can be brought to health officials as part of preparing the Government’s new Covid-19 roadmap later this month.

In a tweet on Friday evening, Ms Martin said she wants sport to reopen to spectators. “Let’s see how that can be done and feed into the roadmap for resilience and recovery. It is what the entire nation wants.”


Ms Martin, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly, Minister of State for Sport Jack Chambers and Acting chief medical officer Ronan Glynn met the representatives by videoconference today.

The sporting representatives briefed the Ministers on progress in the sport sector and the challenges t due to current restrictions. The Ministers said these conconcerns would be considered when the Government next meets to review the public health regulations.

Msr Martin said “discussions were wide-ranging and informative, covering not just the issue of spectators but also other challenges facing the sport sector.

“ I can assure the sport sector that your concerns will be raised at the Cabinet table as we discuss the new roadmap to be published in the middle of the month.”

Ms Martin asked the groups and sports leaders to help the existing Expert Group on Return to Sport to explore the restrictions around sporting events in the context of Covid-19, including examining international best practice.

Ms Martin wants the group to come back with considerations that can be brought to health officials as part of preparation for the upcoming whole-of-government roadmap on resilience, due to be released later this month. The Minister told the sporting bodies: “Time is of the essence. You have an incredible role to play.”

Jack Horgan-Jones

Jack Horgan-Jones

Jack Horgan-Jones is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times