Irish event workers ‘glad’ to see Varadkar ‘trusts safety’ at UK music festival

Irish Event Workers ‘Glad’ To See Varadkar ‘Trusts Safety’ At Uk Music Festival
Tanaiste Leo Varadkar, © PA Wire/PA Images
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Vivienne Clarke

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar’s attendance at a music festival in the UK has drawn divided opinions as Ireland's entertainment sector remains subject to Covid-19 restrictions.

A photograph emerged over the weekend of Mr Varadkar attending the festival in London on the same weekend Electric Picnic was due to take place.


On Monday morning, the Event Industry Alliance (EIA) said it was “glad to see An Tánaiste recognises and trusts the safety measures put in place by our UK colleagues”.

The industry group said it was now calling on the Government to “open our industry at 100 per cent capacity without further delay,” as it said full capacity was needed to make events financially viable.

“It has been repeatedly stated and acknowledged by An Taoiseach and the Tánaiste (as recently as last Event Industry Stakeholder meeting with Minister Catherine Martin) that the commercial event sector requires 100 per cent capacity to be viable,” an EIA statement said.

“No explanation or supporting data has been given to our industry for continuing to keep us closed or at reduced capacity until the 22nd October, at which time we will be closed for 19 months.”



Meanwhile on Monday morning, Fine Gael Senator Jerry Buttimer defended Mr Varadkar’s decision to attend the festival in London at the weekend.

Mr Buttimer told Newstalk Breakfast that Mr Varadkar’s visit was private, prior to a trade mission that starts on Monday.

The Tánaiste had been a supporter and advocate for the sector and of events like Electric Picnic, which had not been cancelled by the Government, he pointed out.

Coverage of Mr Varadkar’s attendance at the festival highlighted “the overarching debate” about the right of public figures to privacy versus the right to information, he said.


“In my opinion, it just shows that we live in a society now where people are rushing to judge and make comments.”

The sharing of the image of the Tánaiste at the event was “an invasion of privacy” and the whole issue needed to be put in perspective, he said.

It seems like he just doesn’t have a clue. What’s going on in his head?

“He has been the Taoiseach of a Government and a minister of a Government that has supported the events industry to the tune of €100 million. He has been a strong advocate of reopening the country.


“The important point here is that this is a story that is a non-story. It is about the click-bait society we live in and I think it is disappointing it has gone to the level it has gone to,” he added.

Meanwhile, on RTÉ radio’s Today with Claire Byrne show, singer Mary Coughlan described the decision of Mr Varadkar to attend the UK music festival as “in very poor taste”.

“It seems like he just doesn’t have a clue. What’s going on in his head?

“It was in very poor taste, he should have put more thought and effort into organising outdoor events here.”

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