Opinion: Clueless Government Wages War Against Sports Fans

With the latest set of regulations announced today, the Government has decided to wage a war against sports fans, by banning spectators from attending events. It appears as though the decision is very much out of touch with the public mood, and removed of any semblance of logic.

We have seen recent reports of outbreaks in meat factories, direct provision centres and associated with house parties and foreign travel. Banning someone from attending a match in their local sports field will not solve any of these problems.

The main crux of the anger against the government today is the apparent lack of evidence to support these new measures. The government have imposed these restrictive and contradictory rules without providing a rationale behind the decision and have not communicated any evidence that spectators at sporting events have caused greater levels of virus transmission, than if they were not present at the event.

It appears that the country is being governed by NPHET, rather than by the TD’s and Senator’s we elect and pay handsomely to do so. Naturally, NPHET recommendations are going to champion an ultra cautious approach in order to cover their own backsides. The government are showing an appalling lack of leadership by simply accepting NPHET advice. Advisors advise, but Ministers decide. Our Ministers are hiding behind NPHET.
NPHET are not experts according to Professor Tom Ryan:


With every decision or lack of decision, the government have tangled themselves up in a web of baffling contradictions about this virus: 

  • We can have 50 people indoors in a Church but only 15 at an under 14 training session in the GAA pitch next door.
  • In 10 days time schools re-open (some schools in Co.Wexford have over 1,000 pupils), but the same pupils won’t be able to have their parents watch them playing a match from tomorrow.
  • Apparently the virus knows the difference between someone who has been eating in a pub and someone who hasn’t.

Why are countries spending billions of Dollars, Pounds, Euros on trying to develop a vaccine? The Irish Government have discovered that a portion of bacon and cabbage, or turkey and ham does the trick.

Having attended more than 50 GAA matches since the restart, from my experience it seems totally illogical to ban spectators from attending and in fact, rather than reducing the limit from 200 to 0, it should have been increased based on a % of ground capacity. A venue such as Wexford Park, with a normal capacity of 20,000 people could comfortably hold a crowd of 2,000 with social distancing measures.

By limiting local GAA matches to 200 attendees, the government have caused fans to gather in each other’s houses or local pubs (meals provided) in large groups to watch the matches on Wexford GAA TV, rather than allow them to attend the games in the open air. By reducing that limit to 0, they will be exacerbating this problem.

Local Senator Malcolm Byrne highlights yet another glaring contradiction in his government’s plan:

Indoor Arts Events = 50 spectators
Outdoor Sporting Events = 0 spectators

Here are some other observations:

Today’s latest farce will remind fans of the UK 1980’s sitcom ‘Yes Minister’ of this great scene:

The early restrictions back in March despite being over the top in their severity, had widespread public support, but a series of amendments since, has seen public support turn gradually to skepticism, whilst today that skepticism has turned to anger and disbelief. The adage ‘fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me‘ comes to mind. I don’t believe the Irish people at large will continue to be fooled into thinking our latest guidelines are well-thought through.

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