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Dublin's hosting of Euro 2020 games this summer will be 'monitored very closely' - Shane Ross

The Aviva Stadium will host three group games and one Round of 16 game this June.

DUBLIN’S HOSTING OF the four Euro 2020 games this summer will be “monitored very closely” due to the Covid-19 outbreak, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross has said. 

The Aviva Stadium will host three group games and one Round of 16 game this June.

All four matches in Dublin are expected to have full attendances – approximately 200,000 attendees altogether, with 160,000 people travelling from overseas. 

Speaking to TheJournal.ie, Ross said the event “will be looked at”. 

“It is going to be monitored very closely,” he added, stating that the event is “a mass gathering, and all mass gatherings will have to be assessed”. 

He said it is a “very important” tourism event, worth over €106 million.

“It’s huge,” said Ross. 

Health Minister Simon Harris said guidelines about mass gatherings amid efforts to stop the spread of Covid-19 are likely to be published today.

Speaking to reporters yesterday, Harris said he hopes the National Public Health Emergency Team will “be able to finalise its guidelines which then could be issued out to organisations, and we could start a dialogue where necessary to provide help”.

The Euro 2020 games in Ireland will be between the 15th and 30th June. If the Republic of Ireland qualifies, the team will play two games in Dublin.

The cost of hosting the tournament is approximately €14.5 million. However it’s expected it will raise €29 million in Exchequer revenue.

Ross’s comments on the status of the games come after the IRFU agreed to postpone next weekend’s scheduled Six Nations rugby match between Ireland and Italy.  

It had been due to take place at the Aviva on Saturday 7 March. 

Harris has come in for criticism for not notifying the IRFU before going on RTÉ News to say that it was the “very clear view” of the National Public Health Emergency Team that the game should not go ahead in the interests of public safety.

The IRFU were not given any prior notice to this announcement – something which Harris is understood to have been reprimanded over by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. 

Speaking to TheJournal.ie, Ross said: 

“I think that the right decision was made. I think the IRFU felt they deserved more consultation about it and perhaps they should have been consulted more closely. It was a very difficult decision for them to make and they are losing €5 million.”

However, he added that public health is the overriding criteria that must be considered. 

He said the Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan is acting “really responsibly” and keeping the public well-informed. 

St Patrick’s Festival 

A big question mark still hangs over this year’s St Patrick’s Day celebrations in Dublin. 

A decision on whether or not to postpone or cancel the St Patrick’s Day parade in response to the Covid-19 outbreak is set to be taken by the end of this week, according to Tourism Ireland chief Niall Gibbons. 

Ross said weekly meetings are being held with tourism stakeholders, with another meeting being held today. 

“A decision will have to be made on that very shortly,” he said.

He said any decision to cancel the parade and events will be made by the organisers of the St Patrick’s Festival and will based on the advice of the Department of Health.

Organisers of the festival are going to be getting a list of criteria they should use to determine whether events should proceed or not.

“They will have to be particularly mindful of the health criteria. They’ll be giving those this week,” he said. 

During the weekly meetings, Ross said feedback is being given on bookings, cancellations, airlines and travel advice.

He said there has not been any dramatic change in tourism activity to date, but said the industry is “very alert to the dangers”. 

Ross said the festival is a “hugely important event for us” stating it is the beginning of the tourism season in Ireland. 

Cabinet will meet today to discuss the spread of the virus and Ireland’s preparedness for more confirmed cases.

The Dáil will also discuss the issue during a six-hour debate on Thursday when TDs return to Leinster House for the second day since the general election. 

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