Republic of Ireland news

No further clarity possible on weddings – Holohan

David Young, PA

The chief medical officer has said he is unable to provide any more clarity on when “big” weddings may be allowed in the Republic of Ireland.

Dr Tony Holohan said he understood the difficulties the situation presented couples, but he said the social interactions associated with larger weddings risked spreading coronavirus.

“The nature of weddings involves interaction, close interaction, social engagement with people, often in a context, let’s be honest, where you know people have alcohol and so on,” he said.

“They are exactly the kinds of conditions which give us among the greatest concerns we have about social interactions that ease the spread of this infection.”

Under the Government’s five phase recovery plan, small weddings will be permitted in phase four, which is provisionally scheduled to kick in on July 20.

The plan envisages that restrictions on big weddings will remain in place in phase five.

But the Government has not got into the detail of what constitutes a small or big wedding.

Dr Holohan was asked about the issue at the daily Covid-19 briefing on Tuesday.

“I think it’s difficult for us to say with certainty, suffice to say at this stage, even though it’s challenging, we think that gatherings of this kind are going be some of the more challenging things for us to see resumed,” he said of big weddings.

“While I can completely understand what that means for brides and grooms, we’re not in a position to give assurance that we will be able to see at a point in time weddings of a certain type and social activities of that scale, or any social activity of a similar scale, being reintroduced.

“But as soon as we think we’re able to give that kind of clarity we will provide it.”

Asked if couples with a wedding booked before September should postpone, Dr Holohan said: “That’s a very difficult space for me to enter in to.

“I understand what is the right decision for one couple, the same decision won’t apply to another couple.

“I hope too, they’ll be able to find ways to stay together whether they are in a position to get married or not in the meantime, genuinely.”

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Republic of Ireland news