The prospect of outdoor gatherings in Ireland of up to 5,000 people being permitted from September has been raised, as government measures introduced to limit the spread of Covid-19 are eased.

Speaking in Dublin, 16 June, Irish taoiseach Leo Varadkar (pictured) said that provided the disease stayed suppressed “we could see some smaller outdoor or mass gatherings in September, maybe outdoor cultural events of a few thousand people – 3,000 or 4,000 or 5,000.”

Varadkar said keeping people 2m apart would be tough for live performances and theatres would be tricky but if it were safe to do so, his government would sanction it.

Under the Irish government’s Covid-19 roadmap, theatres, cinemas, nightclubs and casinos can reopen from 20 July but only if social distancing measures can be implemented.

Varadkar also announced a further €25m (£22.3m) package of support to the arts to help it through the pandemic.

Ireland’s economy could take up to three and a half years to return to the levels of activity seen before the coronavirus pandemic, parliament has heard.

Sebastian Barnes, acting chairman of the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council, said there were “huge uncertainties” ahead for the economy but the broad phases of the crisis and recovery were relatively clear.

Professor Michael McMahon, a member of the council, was asked in parliament how long the Irish state could continue to borrow money, replied: “We just don’t know and a lot will be depend on the ongoing levels of support from European Central Bank and the European Commission.”

Image: Fine Gael, Flickr