Dick Clerkin, who is member of the GAA’s Covid-19 advisory group and chair of Croke Park’s medical, scientific and welfare committee, addresses concerns about the championships being played, the personal responsibility required in counties, and inaccurate information in the public sphere.
BY SHANE STAPLETON
Dick Clerkin insists that the government is giving no preferential treatment to the GAA.
Ireland has moved to level five of the lockdown measures but the playing of Gaelic games and the All-Ireland championships have been given the green light.
Clerkin, who is member of the GAA’s Covid-19 advisory group and chair of Croke Park’s medical, scientific and welfare committee, insists that the association have been in regular contact with counties with regard to protocols.
Louth footballer Bevan Duffy made strong comments about what he perceives to be a lack of testing after his side’s defeat to Cork at the weekend, with many commentators since questioning whether the competitions should now go ahead.
“The protocols need to be better, without a doubt,” Duffy said.
“There hasn’t been any testing at all, which I can’t get my head around.
“Surely before the start of the National League campaign every inter-county squad should have been tested. Simple as.
“That would take a lot of pressure off and put your mind at ease a bit, but you don’t know.
“What if someone tests positive on either of these squads today next Tuesday?
“And there are lads after playing a match here in Páirc Uí Chaoimh and then gone back to their homes and back all over Cork and all over Louth.
“The lack of testing, the zero testing, I just can’t understand it.”
Since then, and in light of the club championships being shut down, Clerkin has felt a wave of negativity towards the GAA and the playing of the All-Irelands this winter.
The Monaghan man feels that the mood is beginning to change once again, and explains why the government and National Public Health Emergency Team have given the association the green light.
“To break it down, NPHET have looked at what we’re doing from a health and safety point of view,” Clerkin says exclusively to OurGame.
“Can we do, based on the protocols, what we are doing safely? If that can’t be answered, there is no conversation.
“So it’s not a case of we’ve been given favouritism, it’s because the protocols and systems we have put around is such that GAA elite inter-county activity is low-risk in their eyes.
“On that basis, we have to have to go forward with confidence.”
Clerkin discusses the “good work quickly forgotten” during the summer at all age groups, explains who Croke Park are facilitating rapid testing for all county sides, and how teams and players must “proactively inform” themselves.
Click play on the video at the top of the page to watch the full discussion.
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