GAA can be trusted to decide own crowd sizes, says John Horan

Horan reiterated that the GAA are unaware of any Covid cases directly related to playing matches nor attending matches
GAA can be trusted to decide own crowd sizes, says John Horan

GAA president John Horan, left, and director general Tom Ryan on arrival at Dáil Éireann. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

GAA president John Horan insists the organisation can be trusted by the Public Health authorities to safely control its own crowd sizes.

In the six counties, sports organisations in tandem with district councils decide their attendance restrictions with Ulster GAA allowing up to 400 attend club matches.

Answering a question by Sinn Féin TD for Kerry Pa Kelly, Horan said he would like to see the same measures extended to the 26 counties.

“We make a very clear statement at the start of this problem that while we were over two jurisdictions we didn’t want to leave one behind the other. In that context, the Ulster Council have regulated a figure of 400 for attendances at their matches and that has proven very positive within the actual councils in the six counties, that they (Ulster GAA) have actually acted in a very responsible and trusting manner.

“I think if that responsibility was given to us down here in the 26 we would carry it out and it would give us the opportunity to increase the numbers that also attend. Because while there is a limit of 400 put on the North, it is actually acceptable to have those numbers to be greater but we try to keep the organisation between the North and South together on that. 

“If they stretched it out any further I think it would cause a great frustration in the 26.

“If we were given that willingness on the part of the authorities to make those decisions I think we could be trusted to carry it out and we would be responsible enough.”

Horan reiterated that the GAA are unaware of any Covid cases directly related to playing matches nor attending matches prior to games going behind closed doors last month. 

“None of our evidence has actually brought it to our attention that Covid incidents have occurred within the grounds.

“We are of the view that there have been incidents of Covid with the GAA membership and that has been highlighted very prominently in the media. Some clubs acted immediately with a shutdown, which was probably cautious and sometimes over-cautious way of dealing with it but everybody was suffering from a nervousness at the beginning of this pandemic and we wouldn’t criticise those decisions made at that time.

“We are confident that cases have been picked up within the GAA membership but no activity within our playing or training.”

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