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Elite sport exemptions to mandatory hotel quarantine to be granted on 'case-by-case basis'

Minister of State for Sport Jack Chambers says any exemptions will be approved by the HSE and policed by Sport Ireland.

File photo of Jack Chambers.
File photo of Jack Chambers.
Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

MINISTER OF STATE for Sport Jack Chambers says exemptions for elite sport to Ireland’s rules around mandatory hotel quarantine will be examined on a “case-by-case basis”, and must be approved by the HSE and overseen by Sport Ireland. 

There is uncertainty surrounding the women’s Six Nations game between Ireland and France in Dublin this weekend, with arrivals from France presently among those obliged to fulfil strict quarantine on arrival to the State. 

Speaking on RTÉ Radio’s News at One, Minister Chambers offered no clarity on this weekend’s rugby game, instead speaking broadly about individual athletes, who will be allowed to leave their hotel rooms solely to train if they are travelling from a country included on the mandatory quarantine list. 

“This will be done on a case-by-case basis”, said Minister Chambers.

“A Paralympic athlete due to engage in the classification event to qualify for the Paralympics may return if they want to continue their activity. They won’t be allowed to interact with their family: the only activity allowed to continue is the specific sporting activity, and they will be in isolation outside of that. Sport Ireland are engaging with hotel providers so we uphold that public health rationale. 

“There may be governing bodies who present a plan that does not meet that equivalence, and if they don’t they won’t be given the certification to continue that activity. 

“Sport Ireland will be policing this and will be in constant contact with the governing body. I think it’s very important we have that principle of equivalence, that the public health rationale is clear and transparent.” 

“Over half of our Olympic and Paralympic team have yet to qualify, and to enable them to continue training when they return from qualification events we have to put something in place, otherwise we limit their ability to participate in the qualifying event”, he continued. 

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“I acknowledge it’s a very difficult time for people coming home for specific  reasons, and that is why we are putting in an equivalent system which is only specific to the sporting activity itself. It is purely to allow the relevant sporting activity to take place.  

“That’s why it’s important we underpin that with the public health principle, and it’s why the HSE will have to approve each proposal that’s brought to it by a specific governing body and Sport Ireland. There will be a clear certification process and oversight process so public health is important.”

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Gavin Cooney

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