All sporting events will take place behind closed doors under measures announced by the government this evening.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin confirmed that a decision has been taken to ban all spectators from sporting events until at least 13 September.

Up until now 200 people were allowed be part of an outdoor sporting event, which meant that in the likes of GAA and soccer, 50 to 120 fans could attend matches.

A planned move to permit 500 people at events was delayed when cases of Covid-19 increased.

The surge in cases over the last two weeks has seen the government move to have no fans present at all. 

This and other measures will be in place until 13 September at the earliest. 

Initial reaction to the announcement was mixed with Labour party leader Alan Kelly criticising the decision.

Speaking on RTÉ's Drivetime in advance of the press briefing, Kelly said a measure putting sports behind closed doors would be "dispiriting" and will "negate the goodwill that the government needs".

He said he has a "real issue" with the way the elderly are being treated; amid suggestions that over 70s will be asked to limit their contacts.

"One of the last things they had to enjoy was that clubs would prioritise them if they had tickets left. Taking this away from them is not necessary."

Meanwhile, Paul Moynagh, Professor of Immunology in NUI Maynooth said he is perplexed by the move.

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Speaking on RTÉ's Drivetime, Prof Moynagh said there is clear evidence to show that Covid-19 is "significantly less transmissible outdoors than it is indoors".

He said he is concerned by the testing and tracing capacity, adding that is "clear we do not have a robust testing and tracing system".