The Republic of Ireland’s Tanaiste (Deputy Prime Minister) sparked further fury when he appeared to defend attending the Mighty Hoopla festival yesterday. After a photo emerged of him on the phone while picking his nose at the event in Brockwell Park, London, his office released a statement saying he was in the “UK on private time where such events are allowed”.
This did little to assuage fury from many – who have spent months being unable to attend similar events and couldn’t afford to simply jet over the Irish Sea to skirt around the rules.
One Twitter user raged: “Ignores our calls to open up our entertainment industry, then f***s off to a festival in the UK. Zero shame.”
Mark Graham, who produces the Irish Music Industry Podcast, said: “Angry? Please let him and his colleagues who have crippled our entertainment industry know.”
Gary Gannon, a Social Democrats TD, called the decision to attend “massively tone deaf”.
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For outdoor events, 75 percent of capacity will be available for vaccinated individuals.
Live music at weddings and pubs is also set to return from tomorrow.
The picture appears to have been originally tweeted by Dr Oonagh Murphy – a lecturer in arts management at Goldsmiths, University of London.
Since it went viral she has made her account private. This didn’t happen before her post and the picture was screenshotted.
In the original post, Dr Murphy tweeted: “Interesting that Leo Varadkar has come to a festival in the UK today (Saturday), while failing to commit to a plan for the Irish entertainment industry.
“(reminder: this is the weekend EP was due to take place.)”
EP is short for Electric Picnic – an annual Irish arts and music festival which is usually attended by thousands of people.
Normally it would have taken place this weekend but was pushed back before being cancelled by organisers.
A spokesperson for Mr Varadkar said: “The Tanaiste is currently in the UK on private time where such events are allowed.
“Festivals and concerts are permitted in Ireland from Monday. The Tanaiste is one of the strongest supporters of the events industry in Government.
“He supported Electric Picnic going ahead and helped secure the reopening plan for concerts and other big events beginning on Monday with capacity limits and vaccination certificate moving to full capacity next month.”
“The industry has received over 100 million euro in financial support from Government, not including EWSS (employment wage subsidy scheme) and PUP (pandemic unemployment payment).”