No Nphet input on withdrawal of GAA Level 5 exemption says junior minister

No Nphet Input On Withdrawal Of Gaa Level 5 Exemption Says Junior Minister
Minister of State for Sport, Jack Chambers.
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The National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) did not give advice regarding the decision to revoke the exemption for intercounty Gaelic games under Level 5 restrictions according to the Minister of State for Sport.

Under the Government's Living with Covid plan, only elite sports are permitted to continue under Level 5 restrictions. However, Gaelic games received an exemption last year, allowing senior intercounty games to go ahead.


The GAA had intended to resume intercounty training in mid-January, however this was delayed due to the record daily case numbers last month, followed by a letter to county boards last week informing them the exemption had been revoked.

The Minister of State for Sport Jack Chambers said the exemption for Gaelic games had simply expired and did not represent a change of heart on behalf of the Government, according to The Irish Times.

Mr Chambers told RTÉ Radio 1's Today with Claire Byrne he had not received any communication from Nphet on the matter, adding: "It’s just to say it’s a case of giving a direct answer to whether there’s a current concession for intercounty GAA."

Broader re-opening

The minister said the concession for Gaelic games concluded at the end of last year and the Government's aim now was to get Covid case numbers down "to see the broader re-opening and return to sport happen through the springtime".


Last year, Gaelic games had originally been excluded from the list of green-lit sports under Level 5 restrictions, but following recommendations from Nphet the Senior All-Ireland championships were permitted to go ahead.

Mr Chambers said the GAA, LGFA and Camogie Association were contacted in October, informing them that the exemption would expire in December, adding: "The GAA didn't request a concession in January or February when we met them."

When asked why the League of Ireland, which is not a full-time league, was proceeding under Level 5, Mr Chambers said: "The League of Ireland is a professional league. That is the distinction."

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