Sports Ireland appears to have rowed back on banning unvaccinated children from taking part in indoor sports.
Minister Jack Chambers said the guidance from Sport Ireland had now been “updated”. The revision appears to have come after furious parents expressed anger and upset through their TDs at the exclusion of their children from sport.
“In relation to your recent representations, I am pleased to inform you that Government has today agreed to widen the range of sporting opportunities for young people which will enable under 18 indoor sports games and competitions in sports such as basketball to go ahead. On foot of this, updated guidance has been provided by Sport Ireland to sporting organisations, to allow children under 18 years of age to participate in indoor games and competition activities according to the ordinary rules and limits of the sport concerned, Minister Chambers said in a letter to Carol Nolan Independent TD.
As reported on Gript, parents had expressed “huge levels of anger” at the restriction, especially given the long absence of children from sport.
Earlier this week, 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.
Cork based swimming legend Steve Redmond coaches multiple teams at Skibbereen Basketball Club. He told reporter Louise Rosingrave that the club is haemorrhaging volunteers due to restrictions on under 18’s.
“We are now going into WhatsApp groups asking parents if it is okay to ask if their children are vaccinated and you can understand now why it’s nigh on impossible to get anybody to help in a club. There’s three people running Skibbereen Basketball Club, the rest have all resigned,” he said.
Another senior coach said he was “baffled as to where the science is or what is the motive behind it”.
Peadar Tóibín of Aontú, who had spoken out on the issue with Carol Nolan and other Independent TDs, welcomed the reversal of the restriction.
The Government had banned healthy children from playing sports and attending school tours.
Aontú is the only party that fought this.
Good news today.
This ban will now be binned. pic.twitter.com/Zec3FSoWoQ
— Aontú (@AontuIE) November 4, 2021