Parents have reacted in anger at a statement from Sport Ireland which indicates that children who have not been vaccinated against Covid-19 or recovered will not be permitted to take part in games.
Independent TD, Carol Nolan, said her office had seen “huge levels of anger” from parents as the directive became known.
Basketball Ireland said it was “informed by Sport Ireland that no games can take place unless all those participating (players, coaches and officials), attending and facilitating matches hold valid Covid Certificates, or proof of having recovered from Covid-19.”
“This does not apply to National League or international games and training, which can continue as before,” the statement said.
Coaches and parents were quick to express concerns on social media.
“I have a team of U12 girls ready and excited to play their first ever league match next week and now I have to tell them they can’t play!? We’re trying to keep girls in sport, we’re trying to bolster the mental health of ALL kids after a shitty two years. This is a disgrace,” wrote one.
I have a team of U12 girls ready and excited to play their first ever league match next week and now I have to tell them they can’t play!? We’re trying to keep girls in sport, we’re trying to bolster the mental health of ALL kids after a shitty two years. This is a disgrace.
— Sinéad Fagan (@FaganSinead) October 29, 2021
Others labelled it “disgusting discrimination”.
Basketball Ireland @BballIrl are now excluding all unvaccinated players from participating in matches even though vaccinated players can spread Covid just as easily as unvaccinated players
This is disgusting discrimination https://t.co/9tltfGa1fX
— Tom O’Hanlon (@TomOHanlon17) October 28, 2021
Others contrasted the move with the teenagers packing into discos at the weekend.
“Come on Basketball Ireland, fght this on behalf of children who love basketball. A Thousand teenagers can pack into a disco over the midterm with antigen tests etc but a game of basketball is deemed unsafe? Vaccinated and unvaccinated people can get and spread covid why discriminate?,” one wrote
Not even that. Basketball Ireland provided all clubs with a free contact tracing app for all participants to use since we returned at the start of summer outdoors. Would love to know how many times the data needed to be used for outbreaks of cases. The guidelines are disgusting.
— Niall Farrell (@NiallFarrell218) October 28, 2021
Carol Nolan, the TD for Laois Offaly said she had written to Catherine Martin and Sports Ireland “expressing the disgust and outrage of parents”.
“The parents who contacted me are genuinely disgusted by this bolt from the blue from Sports Ireland. They fear that it will further isolate, segregate and discriminate against innocent kids who just want to play sports. It is an appallingly mean spirited move by Sports Ireland and it must be reconsidered,” she said.