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GAA games to go behind closed doors

The Government is to announce measures that will see Gaelic games and other sporting events taking place behind closed doors

GAA director general Tom Ryan
Tom Ryan of the GAA

The government is set to announce new measures which will mean GAA games being played behind closed doors.

Up to 200 people had been in attendance at matches in recent weeks — including players, backroom teams, media, officials, stewards and other volunteers required to stage matches — but that now looks set to be rolled back.

The GAA had in recent weeks lobbied for more 200 people to be granted access to games, but this was denied as NPHET [the National Public Health Emergency Team] advised the delaying of Phase 4 of the country’s reopening from lockdown.

Now, with the rising number of Covid-19 cases, the Government cabinet have today been meeting — with a number of measures set to be announced.

Many of those are to deal with the protection of people over the age of 70 and those with underlying conditions.

There are also expected to be new powers for Gardai as the government looks to clamp down on house parties and other gatherings.

On August 4, GAA president John Horan had spoken of his disappointment at the government not allowing bigger crowds at Gaelic games matches at that stage.

“We don’t want our members becoming too despondent or disheartened,” he said at the time. “What’s important is that we have the games back and we keep them back and we continue to be vigilant and show leadership.

“This isn’t going as fast as we want but we’re still moving in the right direction.

“We made a strong case to both the Government and NPHET around the use of our bigger stadia for crowds of up to 400 excluding the players.

“But, obviously, with the numbers turning in the last few days they felt they couldn’t accede to our request and we have to respect that decision.” 

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