Leo Varadkar attends London festival despite ongoing restrictions in Ireland

5 September 2021, 14:52 | Updated: 5 September 2021, 16:12

Leo Varadkar was pictured at the 25k capacity Mighty Hoopla festival as Irish events allow a max of 500
Leo Varadkar was pictured at the 25k capacity Mighty Hoopla festival as Irish events allow a max of 500. Picture: Twitter (@oonaghmurphy)

By Seán Hickey

The Irish deputy PM was Mighty Hoopla in Brockwell Park while mass events in Ireland are limited to 200 people.

Brockwell Park hosted 25,000 people over the first weekend in September for the Mighty Hoopla festival as British festivals get into full swing.

Controversy erupted in Ireland as Tánaiste Leo Varadkar was photographed at the event while his government continue restrictions on the live events.

Read more: 'Gutless PM should have sacked him': MPs' anger after Hancock quits over kiss with aide

Under current Irish government guidance, outdoor events can take place to a capacity of 200 people with social distancing measures in place, or 500 if an outdoor space usually hosts more than 5,000 people.

The news came on the weekend that Ireland's biggest music festival, Electric Picnic, was scheduled to take place, but was cancelled due to restrictions.

Read more: Michael Gove leaves punters stunned as he raves in a suit at Aberdeen nightclub

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar was pictured at a UK music festival while outdoor events are limited to 200 people in Ireland
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar was pictured at a UK music festival while outdoor events are limited to 200 people in Ireland. Picture: Alamy

Social media users shared their anger over the Fine Gael's holiday plans, as it was rumoured he also used the Irish government jet to fly to London.

Read more: James O'Brien's instant reaction to Cummings' 'astonishing attack' on PM

A spokesperson for the Tánaiste commented on the events, stating that Mr Varadkar was in the UK "on private time, where such events are allowed".

They went on to state that Mr Varadkar is "one of the strongest supporters of the events industry in Government."

"He supported Electric Picnic going ahead and helped secure the re-opening plan for concerts and other big events beginning on Monday with capacity limits and vaccination certificates, moving to full capacity next month.

"The industry has received over €100m in financial support from Government, not including the EWSS (Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme) and PUP (Pandemic Unemployment Payment)."

Read more: Dominic Cummings says Boris Johnson was 'unfit' for the job

The Fine Gael leader has reportedly returned to Ireland where the Dáil is set to reconvene on 15 September.

On 6 September the rules in Ireland are set to change to allow outdoor capacities of 75% where people attending are fully vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19.

Where not all members of the audience are fully vaccinated or recovered, a capacity limit of 50% applies.