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GAA activity in Dublin primary schools deferred until after Christmas due to Covid-19 regulations

Cumann na mBunscol games in Dublin are planned to start on the week of 25 January.

Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

GAA ACTIVITY IN Dublin primary schools is set to be deferred until after Christmas to allow schools to focus on safely reopening after the Covid-19 enforced shutdown last March.

The decision has been taken by Cumann na mBunscol in Dublin and will see the Gaelic football programme of action put back until Term 2 with a planned starting date of late January. The Cumann na mBunscol finals in football and hurling are traditionally held in Croke Park every year.

In a letter sent out to schools by the Cumman na mBunscol secretary Michael Mac Gabhann, the reasons for the decision were outlined.

It was explained that given current GAA guidance is for players to travel to matches individually, ‘it is not practical’ to expect a large number of parents to transport players during the day to games.

In addition having training and games could see students from different bubbles in schools interact while the usage of public parks as venues is another issue as the schools GAA body would be ‘unable to ensure the proper signage and hand sanitising facilities’ were available.

The letter in full reads:

“A Mhúinteoir,

“The Coiste Láir of Cumann na mBunscol Áth Cliath met today to make a decision on activity in Term 1, namely our football season. Having carefully considered guidance provided by Department of Education and the GAA the decision has been made to defer the football leagues until Term 2.

“It is proposed that registration would open on return in January with the leagues running (provisionally) from the week of 25 January to the week of 15 March. This is dependent of course on Government guidance at the time.

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“It is of great disappointment not to be able to run out leagues in the traditional slot however current guidance from the DES directs that classes should be placed in bubbles and then divided further into pods, minimising contact with other pods and bubbles during the school day. Conducting trainings and matches with children from different bubbles would directly contravene this advice.

“Under GAA guidance all players should travel to and from matches individually. It is not practical to expect 20 parents to make themselves available during the day to facilitate bringing players to matches.

“As many of our venues are public parks we would be unable to ensure the proper signage and hand sanitising facilities were available for teams as required in the GAA return to play protocols.

“Finally, as primary school teachers we are acutely aware of the seismic change that is occurring in primary schools over the summer. Schools and teachers have the mammoth task of ensuring all children return to the classroom in a safe manner, following new protocols, return to learning, and making up for the lost time of Term 3 of last year.

“Gaelic Games are an important part of Irish primary schools and will return when it is safe to do so. We hope that our decision to defer will allow schools to focus on returning to school and trying to regain some normality.

“Best of luck on your return to school.”

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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