Tanaiste's GAA warning Varadkar: there will be no GAA championship if the country is moved to level five restrictions
Tanaiste Leo Varadkar has stated that there will be no GAA championship if the country is moved to level five restrictions - despite a Nphet proposal that could see elite sport continue even at the highest level of the government’s ‘Living with Covid’ plan.
A letter from Ireland’s CMO Tony Holohan earlier this month, advised that there could be an ‘exemption for professional/elite/senior inter-county/horse racing behind closed doors’ in any move to level five.
Most of the county is currently at level three, with the borders counties of Monaghan, Cavan and Donegal moving into level four.
Speaking to Matt Cooper on Today FM, Varadkar gave his backing for league action to resume this weekend, insisting it was possible for the games to be run off safely.
However he admitted the GAA’s amateur status posed more problems than with professional sport.
“I think ultimately that is going to be a decision for the GAA, they are the right ones to make it,” Varadkar replied, when asked if it was right that the GAA season should get underway.
“I do think it is feasible for inter county elite sport to continue. We see international competitions for example continue and I wouldn’t like to see Irish teams or Irish athletes having to pull out of international competitions.
“But it is difficult for the GAA in particular because they are amateur athletes, they can’t be bubbled and cocooned in the way that premiership players can be or even provincial rugby players can be. But it can be done. And it obviously has to be done with no spectators.”
However when asked if a move to Level five would mean the end of any championship, the Tanaiste replied: “It would”.
A spokesperson for the Tanaiste said last night: "That is what the government plan says, the framework, at level five there is no elite sport."
The GAA are aiming to run an extensive series of games starting this weekend and which is set to run until a week before Christmas. Meanwhile, basketball, hockey and club rugby have all called a halt to their activities.