A change will be made to Sport Ireland guidance so that all games and competitions for indoor sports can now take place for young people under 18, Fine Gael Kildare South TD and Minister of State Martin Heydon has said.

Minister Heydon said, “Government yesterday addressed the issues raised by recent confusion over Sport Ireland guidance on underage indoor sports. Changes to the guidance will now allow indoor games and competitions to resume for all players under 18.

“I had been in contact with parents, teachers and coaches in the past week who were very frustrated at the changes which prevented some children back playing indoor sports, in particular basketball, and made these concerns known to Minister Jack Chambers.

“Sport Ireland previously issued new guidelines based on the Government’s latest Covid announcement. These guidelines stated that indoor sports must be limited to pods of up to six participants where the group was comprised of vaccinated and unvaccinated players.

“This effectively ruled out all matches for children under 12, as they’re currently ineligible for vaccination, and presented significant constraints on games for over 12s as well.

“The new guidance will mean that the current pod system can now be adjusted to allow indoor games and competitions according to the rules of a particular sport. The use of pods will continue for training activities.

“Today’s announcement is hugely positive news for sports clubs across the country, but most importantly it’s a change that will really benefit children. It will allow for fuller participation across sports and will see the resumption of competitions indoors.

“The past 18 months have been incredibly difficult for children, as their lives were turned upside down over night. Not only is physical exercise vitally important for their health, social interaction with friends, teachers and coaches is key to the overall development of young people.

“I welcome the effective action that was taken this week to bring about a practical solution for the benefit of our young people,” Minister Martin Heydon concluded.