Sports stadiums and indoor arenas can welcome 100% attendances for fixtures from this weekend as restrictions on indoor and outdoor events were removed at 6am on Saturday morning.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin made an announcement on Friday evening to confirm which Covid-19 restrictions were being eased, and as a result the 50% or 5,000 capacity limits on outdoor sporting events will no longer be in operation. The requirement for an 8pm curfew and the use of Covid passes have also been dispensed with as the 'new normal' gives way to normal.
The Taoiseach confirmed that the 50% or 5,000 capacity limits on outdoor sporting events will no longer be in operation. pic.twitter.com/2pBCgQawgE— RTÉ Sport (@RTEsport) January 21, 2022
It's a timely move, from the perspective of Ireland's major sporting bodies, with the Allianz Football and Hurling Leagues due to start in the coming fortnight, the Six Nations underway Saturday fortnight and the League of Ireland back next month.
More immediately, the removal of restrictions will benefit the national basketball finals taking place in Tallaght this weekend, as well as Munster's Champions Cup clash with Wasps on Sunday.
There are also a host of club and inter-county GAA matches fixed for this weekend.
The Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) welcomed the decision by the Government to lift the current restrictions.
"Throughout the pandemic, the Government has been committed to sport and we thank them, particularly Minsters Martin and Chambers and all of our colleagues at Sport Ireland," they said in a statement.
"We also thank Aviva Stadium Director, Martin Murphy, for acting as Chair of the working group that represents the GAA, FAI and the IRFU, and for all his work to deliver our programme of events at Aviva Stadium.
"The IRFU looks forward to welcoming our clubs, schools, sponsors, patrons and supporters from Wales, Italy and Scotland, back to Aviva Stadium for an exciting 2022 Guinness Six Nations."
Basketball Ireland CEO John Feehan described Friday's announcement as a "huge relief".
"Basketball, like all sports, has been badly impacted by Covid-19," he said.
"Indoor sports have had a very, very challenging time, basketball as the number one indoor sport has particularly difficult time over this period, so it’s a huge relief."
Basketball Ireland confirmed that they would now be in a position to release more tickets for this weekend's finals at the National Basketball Arena in Tallaght.
"Although it's short notice, the end to limits on spectators means that this weekend’s InsureMyHouse.ie National Cup finals can now be at full capacity."
Basketball Ireland will release additional tickets for the finals via the Ireland.basketball website from 9pm.
Among the games this weekend is the Pat Duffy Cup between C&S Neptune and Garvey’s Tralee Warriors on Saturday at 6pm, while The Address UCC Glanmire face DCU Mercy in the Paudie O’Connor Cup final on Sunday at 5.20pm.
Additional reporting by Mary Regan