Following the announcement by the Irish Government that underage training can return for non-contact sports on the 26th of April, we look forward with great joy and excitement to seeing our athletes back on the water.

Along with the earlier announcement for our NI clubs, we look on these easing of restrictions as very positive news and a much-anticipated step in the recovery of our much-loved sport.

The Rowing Ireland COVID-19 Working Group are currently analysing the details in the announcement and will publish guidance to our clubs in due course. They have met every Monday for the course of this pandemic and their dedication to getting our members back rowing safely has been incredible.

This indeed is a very positive step towards the resumption of our sport for all our members, and your continued support of the current guidelines will ensure that the full return to rowing for all categories will happen sooner, rather than later.

We would encourage all clubs to prepare for the return to rowing by ensuring all your facilities and equipment are in an operationally safe condition. A review of your club’s Covid-19 safety plans should be carried out and communicated to all your members to ensure the return to training is done in a safe and COVID aware manner. Each club should also appoint a COVID officer to ensure guidelines are supported and implemented by all involved in your club.

Remember clubhouses and gyms will remain closed, boathouses can open to gain access to boats and equipment. Toilet facilities can open for emergency use but showers and locker rooms must remain closed.

With this announcement and the rollout of the vaccines, we are looking positively towards the resumption of rowing for all, a gradual introduction of competition and an Irish Championship being held later in the summer.

For now, we would encourage those who can return to rowing on the 26th of April to do so in a controlled and safe manner, adhering to the guidelines, so we can see the return to all forms of rowing in the near future.

It has been a long and hard struggle for everyone involved in our sport. We sincerely congratulate and thank all our members for cooperating fully with the restrictions and abiding by the guidelines, in doing so you have contributed to keeping us all safe.

Have a very happy Easter and I look forward to the meeting you all soon on a waterway near you.

Yours in Rowing

Michelle Carpenter