Taoiseach says attendance for All-Ireland semi finals, finals may rise

At the moment crowd sizes for matches at Croke Park are limited to 18,000 people

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has suggested that more than 18,000 GAA fans will be allowed at the All-Ireland Finals at the end of August.

 

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has suggested that more than 18,000 GAA fans will be allowed at the All-Ireland Finals at the end of August.

Mr Martin said the Covid-19 vaccination programme is “going well” and offering protection and the situation will be monitored as August progresses.

He said the Government is looking at the situation surrounding sports attendances and noted there will be major fixtures in the All-Ireland series next month.

“We will see what we can do there,” said Mr Martin.

“We want to avoid super spreader events,” he added, saying there was some evidence for spikes in cases in the UK after European Championship matches.

However, in Ireland he said it has been “so far so good” on the sporting front. “The feedback in terms of contact tracing has been positive in the sense that there hasn’t been a huge indication of anything negative,” he said.

Asked if the Government would allow attendance above 18,000 for the All-Ireland finals the Cork South Central TD replied: “It depends whether Cork gets through or not.”

He also said: “I think we can look forward to increasing that figure for the All-Ireland final certainly.

“We’re looking at the semi-finals.

“[Minister of State for Sport] Jack Chambers is engaging with the sporting organisations.

“We’re engaging with the FAI as well in respect of forthcoming World Cup qualifiers and so on to see what we can do.

“And again to see what additional tools can be used to protect, as we potentially increase numbers. We are looking at that.”

Mr Martin was speaking at the Covid-19 vaccination centre in Swords Co Dublin. He highlighted the latest national figures showing 5.72 million doses have been administered.

He said that this represents 71 per cent of adults fully vaccinated and 86 per cent partially vaccinated with one dose.

Meetings

Mr Martin said there will be three Cabinet Covid sub-committee meetings during August and the Government will continue to engage with the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) as it considers “how we move forward then in September.”

He said there are still uncertainties involving the Delta variant and that the number of people in hospitals will be watched closely.

The Taoiseach said the vaccination programme will provide the Government with choices as it makes decisions at the end of the month but also encourage people to behave in a “calm, common sense way” in parallel with the rollout.

He also highlighted how as many as 250,000 children between the ages of 12 and 15 are likely to have had at least a first dose before schools return.

Mr Martin played down the prospect of any possible early easing of restrictions saying his view is “steady as she goes” for now adding: “We don’t want any derailment along the journey of reopening.

“That is important in terms of giving certainty and clarity to the different sectors.”

He was asked about Minister for Culture Catherine Martin’s letter to colleagues raising concern about the live entertainment sector where she said: “many businesses are now in danger of collapse”.

The Taoiseach said the situation will be monitored and analysed in the coming weeks.

He said some trial events for live music have happened and “we may continue with some further live events”.

Asked if there would be a return to live music in venues in September Mr Martin said: “We’re going to give consideration to what we can do”.

He said artists have been supported with schemes like the increased number of artists in residence in schools but said the Government fully understands that they want to perform.

He said Ministers will engage on the issue.