Fans could be back in July - Taoiseach

 The Crucible Theatre was sold out for the World Snooker Championship final over the Bank Holiday weekend.

Micheál Martin last night offered hope fans could return to sporting events in the Republic in July.

Speaking on Newstalk’s Off The Ball programme, the Taoiseach said the Irish Government is working on plans to mimic what has happened in England, where crowds have been gradually allowed back over recent weeks.

The Crucible Theatre was sold out for the World Snooker Championship final over the Bank Holiday weekend, a significant step forward for an indoor event.

Martin said protocols from last year are being looked at with a view to getting crowds back into stadiums. “We would hope to do it this summer – we’re going to trial, certainly, a number of events.

“I know Jack Chambers is involved with a group; there’s a group that came together – IRFU, FAI, GAA – a working group of the Aviva Stadium.

“They drew up a very extensive protocol back in October, then the third wave came.

“So they’re going to update that now. We’ve had Professor Mark Ferguson’s report on antigen testing, we have the vaccinations. So we will be trialling some events – I think you’re probably looking at July.

“The Government is working up plans now and over the next number of weeks towards that end.

“And also learning lessons from what’s happened in the UK, and what’s happening in other jurisdictions, to see how we can get fans back in a safe way.”

His comments followed the news that all inter-county panellists and management team members will be allowed to attend GAA games from the beginning of the Allianz Leagues this weekend.

It was also confirmed that intercounty challenge games will be allowed to take place from Monday, to coincide with travel between different counties being allowed.

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