Offaly TD wants more spectators allowed at matches under new government plan

Justin Kelly

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Justin Kelly

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news@offalyexpress.ie

Offaly TD wants more spectators allowed at matches under new government plan

File photograph taken before Covid-19

Independent TD for Laois-Offaly Carol Nolan has cautiously welcomed the government’s guidance around the attendance of spectators at sports events which are outlined in its new Living with Covid-19 Plan.

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Deputy Nolan was speaking after it was confirmed that from this week a stadium or sports facility that could normally accommodate 5,000 people will be permitted to have 200 spectators present.

“While I certainly welcome this specific move as being better than the status quo, I do think that there is significantly more scope for allowing more than 200 spectators to return to GAA or football matches.

"If you have room for 5,000, then I simply do not see the rationale for limiting numbers to a mere 200. It is yet again creating the impression that the government are being overly cautious even in circumstances where a good degree of social distancing can take place.

"Most of our parish or local sports grounds will only be able to admit 100 people while indoor events will be limited to 50. We have to keep this under constant review because most sporting events happen at this level."

"I also want to welcome the retention of the commitment to re-open the pubs. That being said it will be extremely difficult for publicans to read the official advice which is that numbers must be linked to the capacity of the establishment," Deputy Nolan continued.

"This is exactly what pub owners were saying they were willing to do all along, which in turn makes the slowness of the re-opening even more frustrating.

"The government’s plan, published on Tuesday, will have to be subjected to serious critique over the next few days and weeks, because it is already clear that serious problems remain in place for many sectors of our community and local economies,” concluded Deputy Nolan.