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crowd pleasing Clubbing and sports events on the cards from next month as Government plans test events

Attendees would likely be required to provide evidence of a negative test for Covid-19

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The Government is planning a series of test events which could include live music and sport

The Government is planning a series of test events which could include live music and sport

The Government is planning a series of test events which could include live music and sport

Clubbing could be back on the cards this summer as the Government plans to run a series of pilot events that will allow crowds back at music gigs and sports matches starting from next month. 

They also hope to announce the return of indoor dining and pubs from the first week of July when the Taoiseach confirms the next phase of reopening society on Friday.

The final decision will hinge on public health advice from Nphet which is due to meet on Thursday before Micheál Martin makes his announcement .

Ministers are concerned the rise in the number of cases of the so-called Indian variant in Ireland may result in a more cautious approach on the resumption of international travel.

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Taoiseach Micheál Martin

Taoiseach Micheál Martin

Taoiseach Micheál Martin

However plans to further unlock the domestic economy are set to go ahead with Tourism Minister Catherine Martin examining proposals for events across a range of genres and entertainment, including rock, classical and electronic music, as well as comedy and theatre events.

Large and small indoor and outdoor venues across the country are being considered with details to be announced on Friday.

Attendees would likely be required to provide evidence of a negative test for Covid-19 or vaccination against the virus before attending.

Ms Martin is examining a series of pilot events that took place in Liverpool at the end of April and the start of May. They included an indoor nightclub event that saw 3,000 revellers return to the dance-floor and an outdoor music festival attended by 5,000 people in Sefton Park, where social distancing and face masks were not required.

That event was run by Festival Republic, whom Ms Martin is in talks with about the possibility of running similar events in Ireland from next month.

While a nightclub event on the scale of that which took place in Liverpool was downplayed by one senior Coalition source, the return of some indoor music events on a pilot basis is on the cards in summer.

Officials are currently examining issues around how to manage crowds, exit and entry points at venues, testing, tracing, and whether social distancing and masks would be required. Negative Covid-19 tests are likely to be a requirement for entry to such events with the use of faster but less accurate antigen tests being examined along with the gold-standard PCR tests.

A detailed plan for the return of thousands of people at football, hurling, soccer and rugby matches will also be announced on Friday.

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Sports Minister Jack Chambers is finalising plans which would allow crowds at League of Ireland, GAA Championship and rugby matches on a trial basis. The Irish rugby team has two test matches scheduled in the Aviva Stadium on July 3 and 10 where it is possible a limited number of people could be allowed to attend.

The Government will also this week announce a new support package for the aviation industry including the extension of the employment wage subsidy scheme to keep airline staff on the payroll and the possible refunding of airport charges to help restart some air routes.

“I’ll be making a comprehensive statement next week in relation to continuing reopening of society and sectors of the economy and in relation to travel and also areas around the entertainment sector, live events and what is possible in June and July,” the Taoiseach said on Friday.

He said there were “issues to be ironed out” in regards to the EU’s Digital Covid Certificate but that the vaccine roll-out “will make a difference” to international travel.

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