Sport and the lockdown – show us the data


Sir, – It’s great to have hurling and Jackie Tyrrell back. I don’t know how many hurling supporters are in Cabinet but Jackie’s column (“A winter championship is a whole different ball game”, Sport, October 23rd) might usefully be studied there.

He writes of the balance to be struck between player welfare on the one hand and the lift a championship might give the county on the other.

He trusts county set-ups to be as safe as possible and he trusts the GAA when it offers to make rapid testing available to any team that wants it or needs it.

He sees risk as a reality which has to be managed.

“We have to find a way to live our lives . . . What I don’t understand is a collective attitude of ‘Let’s write off this year.’”

Jackie Tyrrell for Taoiseach? – Yours, etc,



Dublin 6.

Sir, – It is not possible to play golf when standing within two metres of your playing partner. There are no rakes in bunkers and flagsticks are not touched. Each player is recorded on arrival. It is not possible to play the game indoors, nor are there scrums involved. I rest my case. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 4.

A chara, – When I play golf I’m never close to anyone else. They’re on the fairway while I’m always in the rough. While they’re on the green, I’m in the sand. It’s so safe. Stuck at home, we’re all in the bunker. – Is mise,




Co Wexford.

Sir, – Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has essentially banned all social sport across the country for the next six weeks.

His justification for this is that if you start going down the road of differentiating between sports, where do you stop?

Is this a signal that he does not trust the science in these matters?

The scientific basis on where you stop could be based (according to alert level) on indoor versus outdoor, contact versus non-contact, team sports versus groups of two or four. The relative risks can be assessed on a scientific basis and the rationale communicated.

It is critical to continue to trust in the science, to communicate the rationale openly with the people and to maintain, wherever possible, important social and sporting activities.

To apply an outright ban and throw your hands in the air, asking where do you stop, is to shirk responsibility of making scientifically based decisions and to deny many thousands of people the opportunity to participate safely in select activities. – Yours, etc,




Dublin 3.

Sir, – The Government, in deciding to close the golf courses, may have been unaware that I was in the form of my life. Or perhaps, more worryingly, it knew, and just didn’t care. – Yours, etc,




Dublin 6.

Sir, – I am sure I was not the only one that was relying on golf to provide something small to look forward to at the end of each week during this lockdown period.

The mental health aspect of playing golf seem to have been totally underestimated by the Government, or is it a case that golf is being harshly treated due to its association with Golfgate?

In the absence of any clear explanation from the Government, no other explanation seems to make sense. – Yours, etc,



Co Kildare.

Sir, – My father is 79, is a widower and lives alone. He is very independent and very fit and plays both golf and tennis a couple of times a week. This is very important for his fitness, his mental health and his social life.

Now the powers that be say he and many others cannot partake in the sports that are very important to them for the next six weeks, yet golf and tennis are not team sports and all the clubs are taking the necessary precautions.

Why can horse racing, greyhound racing, elite sport and children’s GAA and football training be allowed to continue if the risk is deemed too great for those playing golf and tennis?

It is time to be reasonable and fair. – Yours, etc,




Dublin 16.

Sir, – Thanks, Government, for ruining the next six weeks for 400,000 golfers in Ireland. Instead of playing golf in a large field with up to three others, I can go for a walk in our packed public parks and try and keep my distance .

Logic has left Leinster House. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 4.

Sir, – The capacity to go to one’s local golf club to enjoy the open space and fulfilment it provides has made and would make an enormous difference to the health and wellbeing of tens of thousands of people across the country.

The decision to not allow golf clubs to function over the coming weeks is not only an attempt to fix something that isn’t broken but it is also breaking something that has done nothing but help to maintain the upbeat mental and physical agility of so many of all ages over the past few months.

A reversal of this decision would, I’m sure, yield positive dividends in relation to everyone’s primary objective over the next six weeks. – Yours, etc,



Co Clare.