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!