- 21 Apr 20
Reports have emerged that a decision was made today to ban all mass gatherings of over 5,000 people till the end of August at least. This, unfortunately, will include many music festivals and major sporting events.
A decision made by the cabinet today will see all gatherings of 5,000 people or more banned until late August or September. The mechanism to ensure that events cannot take place will involve the refusal of licences, which have to be applied for to the local authority.
The decision was apparently made by Cabinet Ministers at their customary Tuesday morning meeting, during which the Covid-19 crisis was discussed. It will mean that all large-scale sporting events, music festivals and concerts in 3Arena, scheduled for before the end of August, will have to be further postponed and rescheduled.
A statement issued by the Government confirmed the plan, though further details remain to be clarified.
“There are a number of large-scale future events which require licensing and the involvement of the HSE and Garda Síochána and public consultation in that licensing process which fall to be determined in advance of that by local authorities," the statement said.
“While the issue of restrictions on future mass gatherings is a decision to be taken by the NPHET, in the case of these particular events, and taking account of the impacts on the integrity of the licensing process in the short-term due to restrictions on stakeholder involvement, local authorities have been advised by Government that event promoters should be informed that events requiring licences in excess of 5,000 will not be considered for the period up to the end of August.”
The appears to still leave open the possibility that the Electric Picnic festival might take place, despite the Covid-19 crisis. It is scheduled to run from Friday September 4 to Sunday September 6.
Responding to questions over the weekend about the possibility of Electric Picnic's cancellation, Minister for Health Simon Harris had said: “We are going to have to very shortly make a decision on these mass gatherings. I think it's unlikely that we are going to see mass gatherings come back any time soon. I think we are going to have to keep up our social distancing even if we can lessen some of the restrictions in place as well.”
Mass gatherings were initially banned on March 12th, banning gatherings of 500 people or more, and further restrictions were imposed as the government realised how serious the Corvid-19 crisis was becoming.
Total fatalities due to Covid-19 in Ireland have reached 687 in the Republic, and 216 in Northern Ireland – though the latter figure is inaccurate as it does not include anyone who died outside the hospital system. Current estimates are that the figure in Northern Ireland is at least 30% higher than the stated figure, though it may turn out be considerably more than that again.