They’re the country who made their Junior Eurovision debut in 2015 and have brought the Irish language to the song contest. The Irish broadcaster TG4 has now confirmed that Ireland will not participate in the upcoming Junior Eurovision 2020, citing travel issues relating to the Covid-19 pandemic.

In January — before the Covid-19 pandemic had taken hold — TG4 had tentatively confirmed their participation in Junior Eurovision 2020. But now they’ve had to reverse that decision. The broadcaster confirmed the news to Eurovision news site Eurovoix.

It’s important to note that Ireland’s Junior Eurovision entry is organised by the Irish-language broadcaster TG4, whereas Ireland’s Eurovision Song Contest entry is organised by general broadcaster RTÉ.

The Irish government currently advises Irish citizens to avoid non-essential travel outside Ireland. However, while there is nothing stopping an Irish delegation travelling to Junior Eurovision 2020 in Poland, the delegation would need to self-isolate for 14 days upon returning to Ireland.

The Irish government has also recently delayed moving to Phase 4 of its Covid recovery, which would have seen some easing of social restrictions.

The government has also confirmed that the restriction will remain on indoor events having no more than 50 people. This effectively rules out Ireland holding its Junior Eurovision national final  — and therefore missing out on several hours of Irish-language television. Internally selecting an act would mean TG4 misses out on its core role of television that promotes the Irish language.

A year of pandemic withdrawals

Ireland joins regular Junior Eurovision competing countries North Macedonia, Wales and Australia who have also confirmed that they won’t be part of the contest in 2020.

Earlier in July, Welsh broadcaster S4C tweeted that “Due to the present circumstances, unfortunately we will not be taking part in this year’s contest.”

Soon after, Australian broadcaster SBS confirmed to wiwibloggs that they also would not be heading to Poland in November. A spokesperson said “Due to the current restrictions and the ongoing uncertainty around this situation, Australia will not be competing in the Junior Eurovision Contest 2020. We have informed the EBU of our decision.”

Then last week, North Macedonia’s MRT confirmed they also would be sitting out 2020, “due to the current COVID-19 pandemic”.

It is important to note that these four countries have only confirmed their non-participation at Junior Eurovision 2020, not total withdrawal from all future editions of the contest.

Ireland’s withdrawal leaves 12 countries that have provisionally confirmed their intention to participate in the contest. This includes Germany, who will be making their debut. Fans are still waiting on the 2019 participants Albania, Armenia, Italy and Portugal to confirm their participation for 2020.

With four countries having withdrawn from Junior Eurovision 2020 due to Covid-19 concerns, the question remains whether countries will have to make the same decision regarding their participation in Eurovision 2021.

Junior Eurovision 2020 is due to take place on 29 November. It will be held in Warsaw, Poland, hosted at a large television studio.

What do you think? Are you sad to see Ireland withdrawing from JESC 2020? Will we see any more debuts in this year’s contest? Tell us your thoughts below!

Follow all of our Junior Eurovision 2020 coverage

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Darren
Darren
1 month ago

Not surprised.
Our “new” government which took office at the height of this pandemic is suffering from anxiety or PTSD or something. Zero clarity on anything.
Our “Green List” for safe travel without quarantine on return is made up of countries with no airports/direct transportation from Ireland. Actual safe European countries like Iceland, Germany etc have been excluded. It’s farcical.

Hopefully we can still participate in ESC21 and return to JESC next year.

Jonas
Jonas
1 month ago
Reply to  Darren

Surely safety should be decided by Covid numbers, not the convenience of the airports?

Darren
Darren
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonas

But some of the countries on our list you need to go to a non-green list country to get to them. Doesn’t make sense. Monaco doesn’t have an airport, gotta go to Nice in France. Greenland has no direct flight from Ireland, gotta go to Denmark or Iceland (neither are on the list).
I mentioned Iceland because they where among the first to get control of the pandemic in their country and in turn open to visitors.

Joe
Joe
1 month ago

Unrelated, but is anyone going to say anything about the passing of Agathonas Iakovidis? Really a shame. “Alcohol is Free” is one of my favorite Greek entries, probably their last really great one.

Ashton
Ashton
1 month ago
Reply to  Joe

I didn’t even know until you just said it. Rest in peace, Agathonas. (I will have to disagree tho I think Better Love was absolutely immaculate)

Joe
Joe
1 month ago
Reply to  Ashton

Better Love was great in the studio and great in the semi. For some reason – don’t ask me what, it didn’t fundamentally change all that much – it just completely fell flat in the final. You can see that in the jury scores, and for once I totally get how the same juries that gave it 12 points before didn’t even give it a vote in the final. Alcohol is Free was a blast all the way through. Catchy, energetic, and very very Greek.

Una
Una
1 month ago
Reply to  Joe

I was such a big fan of Better Love and Katerine. Her performance in the GF was one of my top three disappointments of the 2019 contest. I don’t mind the fact that it was not the stereotypical Greek act; all the contrary. And to score less than San Marino? OMG.

Joe
Joe
1 month ago
Reply to  Una

San Marino comfortably outpaced it in the televote in both the semi and the final. I felt very vindicated.

Una
Una
1 month ago
Reply to  Joe

San Marino qualifying and doing better than expected in the final + KEiiNO winning the televote have totally compensated my disappointments. And *to think* they almost did not stand a chance for some people. Not even to qualify to the GF.

Skiwalko
Skiwalko
1 month ago
Reply to  Joe

Rajko Dujmic passed away recently as well. “Rock Me” might not be the best winning entry of all time, but it’s still sad to lose such an accomplished Eurovision composer and performer.

Joe
Joe
1 month ago
Reply to  Skiwalko

I heard that too. I agree – I don’t think it’s as bad as its reputation lets on. It at least deserved a top-5 finish. I’m not a huge fan of any of his Eurovision compositions, I’m afraid (I think Dzuli, the song that got the ball rolling for Yugoslavia’s propensity towards ’60s-style pop songs, was better than any of the late ’80s entries), but they’re all undeniably catchy and showed Yugoslavia finally got how to find the happy medium between their local sound and a sound that was more accessible for Western Europeans.

ESC SSS
ESC SSS
1 month ago

WHAT, NO!!! I felt like more countries will withdraw this year and comeback next year 🙁

Last edited 1 month ago by ESC SSS
ESC SSS
ESC SSS
1 month ago
Reply to  ESC SSS

So I guess this year’s JESC, there’s going to be 12 countries unless Italy, Armenia, Portugal, and Albania made their decision that they’ve confirmed their participation and maybe we might see Azerbaijan and United Kingdom returning to the competition 🙂

Last edited 1 month ago by ESC SSS
Cameron
Cameron
1 month ago
Reply to  ESC SSS

Portugal have said there “highly likely” to go, Albania is probably gone, not sure about Italy and Armenia

Hopefully, as a British person the UK can come back

IHPIESC
IHPIESC
1 month ago
Reply to  Cameron

We must look for BBC statement about it, but it will be interesting to see UK in Jesc2020 🙂

Kim
Kim
1 month ago

Politicians and our chief medical officers in Australia are now saying that international travel from and to Australia – bar expats returning to Australia will not happen until mid 2021 that means possibly that Australia may not be at Eurovision 2021 and Montaigne may not participate as Eurovision is in May and they are talking June or July if we are lucky but some predictions are even later than that like 2024 depending on what’s happening with other countries and how covid is affecting them.

IHPIESC
IHPIESC
1 month ago
Reply to  Kim

They can’t just make a test before she will leave Australia and when she arrive in the Netherlands, then take another test?

Una
Una
1 month ago
Reply to  IHPIESC

I am wondering how the situation will be dealt with come Eurovision 2021 in Rotterdam. Could we consider the scenario that one of the main artists gets ill while there for rehearsals and then the country has withdraw? What would be the logistics of organizing schedules like? I am telling you: a nightmare. Less countries per day with new protocols in place. More time per country meaning more days for rehearsals. Or same schedules but different entries and exits. Quarantine at hotels for delegations. Limited public appearances. Nighmare!!

Alex
Alex
1 month ago
Reply to  Una

Picturing JESC 2020 in my head with what you said and now I’m even more concerned than ever.

Una
Una
1 month ago
Reply to  Alex

I don’t think there is a huge cause for concern but it would be helpful to know what precautions will the organizers take. JESC is made at a much smaller scale than Eurovision so *maybe* the risk for infections could be lower as it may be easier to enforce preventive measures. But there is a risk with the situation in the participating countries and international travel and that can be hardly controlled if not at all.

Eurovision fan
Eurovision fan
1 month ago
Reply to  Kim

No, it’s a nonsense. I mean, it’s not as if Australia has been the centre of coronavirus infections.

Una
Una
1 month ago
Reply to  Eurovision fan

The country still has a duty of care towards the Aussie delegation equally as for other citizens. The issue is that the delegation members don’t get infected and bring the virus back to the country. Quarantines and tests and all that cost money and take planning and protocols. It’s a public health issue. It comes down to deciding what travel is essential or not. Why could Australia send people to Eurovision and allow them come back, but not other people?

Ashton
Ashton
1 month ago
Reply to  Kim

as an Australian myself your point has some merit but literally NOBODY is saying 2024 for christ’s sake

Darren
Darren
1 month ago
Reply to  Ashton

Even if there is no miracle vaccine found (there will be) but IF…..life will return to normal by 2024. Without a doubt.
Either a vaccine/treatment is found, or enough people get the virus that the spread just slows to a controllable level or else governments just say “to hell with it, we tried, use your own judgement now” and opens everything up again.
This will be long over by 2024.

Ria van de Velde -NL
Ria van de Velde -NL
1 month ago

It ‘s sad but I understand the reason why. I hope to see Ireland, North Macedonia, Wales and Australia back in 2021. It won’t surprised me if Junior 2020 also be cancelled, but I hope not…..

Mr Vanilla Bean
Mr Vanilla Bean
1 month ago

We don’t know how the world will look like in May 2021, but it will be rather ironic if they’ll be forced to host with a very limited audience who needs to keep a distance, since some (Bakker, for example) argued in favor of the 2020 cancellation because, apparently, Eurovision is not worth it without the usual audience and atmosphere. I disagree. Although, from today’s perspective, the 2020 cancellation seems to have been rather inevitable to me, too. But certainly not because of the limited audience thing.

Last edited 1 month ago by Mr Vanilla Bean
Esc addict
Esc addict
1 month ago

So weird to see countries preparing actively their national selections as for The Netherlands, Poland, Ukraine, Russia, and to see at the same time some countries withdrawing……. It feel so strange to see so much disparities as we all live on the same continent ….
It feels bizarre too to see Germany debuting with joy and fervor and in front of that some countries leaving with resignation.
Something doesn’t work for me, it’s so contradictory.

Last edited 1 month ago by Esc addict
Tom
Tom
1 month ago

Why is everyone talking about Armenia Italy and Portugal to save the day when Albania haven’t confirmed anything either ?

Erasmus
Erasmus
1 month ago
Reply to  Tom

Efi from 2018 said they won’t participate this year..

Africavision
Africavision
1 month ago
Reply to  Erasmus

Hey Erasmus. Efi followed up that statement and clarified that that was just her own personal opinion, due to the rising covid-19 cases globally and, therefore, not an official withdrawal. We await the decision on participation from the Albanian broadcaster.

beccaboo1212
1 month ago
Reply to  Tom

Here to stay: Armenia, Italy, Portugal

beccaboo1212
1 month ago

Please let me know when you find out the second these countries confirm participation.
* Armenia
* Italy
* Portugal

Briekimchi
Briekimchi
1 month ago

As Padraig said, this seems to be more about the staging of the national final and the channel’s remit than simply not wanting to travel for the actual contest. This is a shame as, for me, Ireland really GOT IT last year and I was really looking forward to see how they would go about measuring up to Banshee.

Ashton
Ashton
1 month ago

Damn. That’s upsetting. Was hoping Ireland might pull off a top 5 after the masterpiece that was Banshee, although the online vote paid it dust

IHPIESC
IHPIESC
1 month ago
Reply to  Ashton

Yeah, it deserved higher place, but North Macedonia only 50 points from televoiting? It destructed this country 5th place or higher dream.

Joseph Mendy
Joseph Mendy
1 month ago

At this rate, we’ll be darn lucky if we even get a show this year. 🙁

beccaboo1212
1 month ago
Reply to  Joseph Mendy

It’s up to these countries to move the world. In other words, save the day.
* Armenia
* Italy
* Portugal
* United Kingdom, but this time with BBC

Joe
Joe
1 month ago
Reply to  beccaboo1212

You’re a bit of a broken record

Padraig Muldoon
Admin
1 month ago

I think that the final nail in the coffin for Ireland’s JESC participation was the government’s announcement regarding indoor event limits staying at 50 people – it’s hardly a coincidence that this announcement came just hours after the government speech. It’s around now that TG4 normally holds auditions and pre-records the national selection heats – activities which obviously aren’t possible to arrange in the present circumstances. The multi-week process and the several hours of Irish-language programming which ensue would be too important to just go for an internal selection. An internal selection, appealing as that would seem, doesn’t fit well… Read more »

Roy Moreno
Roy Moreno
1 month ago

How come not having Ireland singing in Irish at the contest is better in terms of promoting Irish than internally selecting the act?
I don’t understand their logic

Padraig Muldoon
Padraig Muldoon
1 month ago
Reply to  Roy Moreno

TG4’s remit is to promote the Irish language in Ireland, not in Europe.

National selection equals over five hours of Irish-language programming.

Internal selection equals three minutes.

Esc addict
Esc addict
1 month ago

To go for an internal selection especially cause it’s a “special” year wouldn’t prevent them to promote the irish language, on the contrary.
To not go to the contest it won’t help the international promotion of the irish language.
I understand the issues about the covid, but we are only at the beginning of August so why countries don’t wait a little more to see how the situation will be in october for example, it will be again possible to withdraw at this time I think ……

Last edited 1 month ago by Esc addict
Padraig Muldoon
Padraig Muldoon
1 month ago
Reply to  Esc addict

TG4’s remit is to promote the Irish language in Ireland, not in Europe.

So national selection equals over five hours of Irish-language programming.

Internal selection equals three minutes.

Esc addict
Esc addict
1 month ago

Ok thank you I didn’t get it. But it’s better to do maybe just a little promotion of the irish language than nothing at all,

JPNord
JPNord
1 month ago

TG4:s original plan was to film the national selection back in March. I wish they would have done it a bit earlier when the covid wasn’t around yet – that way they might have still taken part. Now they postponed filming it and it eventually never happened.

Nicky91
Nicky91
1 month ago

because internal selections are horrible, dull

IHPIESC
IHPIESC
1 month ago

It is a bit Scary, because there (probably) will be small amount of participants, so Poland can win again with online voting (I mean that if we will have ok or bad song and we will have around 8th jury and 1st voting, it will be a bit not fair).

Pontus
Pontus
1 month ago
Reply to  IHPIESC

With Online voting , Poland will ALWAYS win. 2 years in a row and soon 3. if they dont take away online voting, poland will kill jesc this year. As everyone knows, polish ONLY vote for polish. they dont care about other songs. I have heard so many polish saying: we only vote for ourselfes.ALWAYS.

IHPIESC
IHPIESC
1 month ago
Reply to  Pontus

So I am this rare Pole who didn’t vote for Poland last year.
And Yes, fee channels on YouTube etc. were posting about voting for Poland (If someone want ofc). And Yes I think that is very unfair. They should kick off voting for own country, like there is in ESC.

beccaboo1212
1 month ago
Reply to  IHPIESC

The voting system is gonna be changed! Another country will win. Sparkle and magic recommended. All songs will memorable. Great voices required. Plus, it’s up to the following countries to save Junior Eurovision.

* Armenia
* Italy
* Portugal

Last edited 1 month ago by beccaboo1212
James
James
1 month ago
Reply to  Pontus

2017 begs to differ.

JPNord
JPNord
1 month ago
Reply to  James

The online voting crashed during the final back then and the result was a mess.

beccaboo1212
1 month ago
Reply to  Pontus

The voting system’s gonna change any minute. Don’t count on a third Polish victory. Instead, pray for another big country to win, such as France, Germany, Italy, or Spain.

Stokstaartje
Stokstaartje
1 month ago
Reply to  Pontus

In 2017 Poland didn’t win the online voting. Then it was the Netherlands that won it and in the following years, they did good with online voting as wel. Since I believe they ended up 6th and 4th.

It’s not just Poland voting for Poland. It’s the Netherlands voting for the Netherlands as wel and I think pretty much any country voting for themselves. There for it comes to the biggest audience and the having the best song you you get the second and third vote.

Liam
Liam
1 month ago

I’m irish, and this Is hardly a shock for us. The government here is being extremely cautious, (rightly so) so it would make sense for them to publicly withdraw. They’d probably receive backlash for joining a music competition when they’ve been so cautious on home soil. We’ll be back next year! ??

IHPIESC
IHPIESC
1 month ago

3rd big hit for me after Wales and North Macedonia

Last edited 1 month ago by IHPIESC
Joseph Mendy
Joseph Mendy
1 month ago

Dearie me. That rules out my prediction of getting 15 or 16 countries.

Joe
Joe
1 month ago
Reply to  Joseph Mendy

Could still be fifteen if nobody else pulls out.

IHPIESC
IHPIESC
1 month ago
Reply to  Joe

Even 16, but Armenia Albania Italy and Portugal can’t withdraw

Joe
Joe
1 month ago
Reply to  IHPIESC

Oh, I was already going on the possibility that Albania might pull out too.

Joe
Joe
1 month ago
Reply to  Joe

I’ll honestly be happy if there’s more than 12 or 13

Heyey
Heyey
1 month ago

What?! This came out of nowhere… They had just confirmed their participation in Junior Eurovision 2020 earlier this year 🙁 This was really unexpected, now we have the participants down to 12.
This is also sad, because Ireland was AMAZING last year and deserved so much better than 12th place. I guess we will have to see who gets 12th this year after all.

Joe
Joe
1 month ago
Reply to  Heyey

I don’t know if it came out of nowhere, exactly. Ireland had confirmed provisionally back in January, and nobody had an inkling of an idea of what was to come in the next few months.

Heyey
Heyey
1 month ago
Reply to  Joe

Oh, yeah you’re right. Had to check when they confirmed their participation and it was indeed in January (14th to be precise). And yes, at that time Covid-19 wasn’t a big concern. Ugh, you hate to see it though, I hope we can get the contest after all with atleast a maximum of 14-15 participants or so.

Last edited 1 month ago by Heyey
Heyey
Heyey
1 month ago
Reply to  Heyey

Also, I should’ve read the article first before commenting 😉

Joe
Joe
1 month ago
Reply to  Heyey

We’ve all been there.

Una
Una
1 month ago
Reply to  Joe

LOL!

beccaboo1212
1 month ago
Reply to  Heyey

The following countries are here to stay:
* Armenia
* Italy
* Portugal

Nicky91
Nicky91
1 month ago
Reply to  Heyey

yes Ireland loves junior eurovision, but they can’t participate in a year with dangerous Covid-19 pandemic

Heyey
Heyey
1 month ago
Reply to  Nicky91

Yes, I completely understand that. The health and well-being of people comes before entertainment. Hope to see Ireland again in 2021!

Last edited 1 month ago by Heyey
Joe
Joe
1 month ago

Truth be told, after Wales pulled out, I kind of saw this coming. Here’s hoping we’ll still have a nice number for the year!

Joe
Joe
1 month ago
Reply to  Joe

And I can’t wait to see them back next year!

Badwoolfgirl
Badwoolfgirl
1 month ago
Reply to  Joe

I’ve been watching Junior Eurovision on the G4 iPlayer because it’s playable in the US–with Ireland out, would they not broadcast the contest? What other players are playable in the US from the countries currently participating?

Bimbamboom
Bimbamboom
1 month ago
Reply to  Badwoolfgirl

I think you will always have the official JESC YouTube Channel. Plus, all the broadcasters still competing which are available in your country. Some aren’t geoblocked for the occasion.

Joe
Joe
1 month ago
Reply to  Bimbamboom

And if they are, VPNs always work if you can use them.

Badwoolfgirl
Badwoolfgirl
1 month ago
Reply to  Bimbamboom

I don’t think the official JESC channel plays official videos of the live performances in America because of geoblocking. I’ll have to test each participating country’s iplayer and find one that is playable in America.

Joe
Joe
1 month ago
Reply to  Badwoolfgirl

I feel like they might not, for the same reason as Wales: the purpose of their channel is to promote the Irish language (which is why all their entries are in Irish), so to broadcast it without an Irish-language entry wouldn’t fit in with their programming unless they did a commentary in Irish, which I doubt they’d find necessary when most Irish people would understand what’s going on in English. (Same reason TG4 doesn’t bother doing an Irish-language commentary for Eurovision itself: pretty much every Irish viewer would either watch the livestream, RTE, or depending on where they are, the… Read more »