I am aware that some sports, both domestically and internationally, have decided to use testing as a means to aid return to sport. This is a decision for the National Governing Bodies (NGBs) concerned to consider. I wish to inform the Deputy that an information circular on testing is currently being prepared for the purposes of educating Ireland's NGBs on what these tests are, the role they can potentially play and also to facilitate NGBs in making an informed decision as to whether they wish to employ testing as a tool. The Expert Advisory Group on the Return to Sport, established by my predecessor and which includes medical personnel from the sports sector, intends to distribute this information circular in the near future.
The question of a Government-funded scheme for COVID-19 testing is a matter for the public health authorities and my colleague the Minister for Health.
The Expert Advisory Group has advised - in line with public health advice - that the basic principles of good hygiene practice, hand washing, cough etiquette and social distancing are the most important tools available for the management of this virus. It is recognised that certain sports inherently have social distancing constraints. A sport stratification has been developed to identify low risk and high risk sports in terms of contact. However, the Expert Advisory Group considers that a key message remains that what is done off the field of play is as important as on the field of play.
The Government is strongly supporting the resumption of sport. A funding package of up to €70 million has been announced to support the sport sector, which has been significantly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. The funding package will be administered by Sport Ireland.