Tom Ryan reiterated that public safety remains the overriding factor in the GAA's decision-making process regarding the reopening of facilities. Laszlo Geczo/INPHO
taking no chances

GAA putting together roadmap towards reopening pitches 'in a safe way', says director general

Tom Ryan also confirmed that the GAA still intend to stage Cúl Camps this summer, pending advice from relevant authorities.

GAA DIRECTOR GENERAL Tom Ryan has said the association is working on a ‘roadmap’ which will lead to the eventual reopening of pitches for public use in a ‘safe’ and ‘controlled’ manner.

However, Ryan did not indicate as to whether or not this would be achievable before 20 July, the date previously earmarked by Croke Park as the likely earliest timeframe for the reopening of gates for walks and other forms of exercise.

The director general stressed his belief that it is ‘important’ for club pitches to be made available to local communities, but also reiterated that public health and safety remains the association’s top priority as it attempts to navigate the issue “over the course of the next few weeks.”

Ryan said: “GAA clubs are part of communities all around the country, so in almost every case they are more than just football and hurling pitches. The committee rooms are used by all manner of organisations and friends of the association.

Pitches are used by people for all manner of things, be it going for a walk or going for a puck-around or whatever. That is important, and it is important we get back to using our facilities for those purposes, as well, but it has to be done in a controlled way; it has to be done in a safe way.

“The overriding thing all the time is safety. The [COVID-19 advisory] group is going to help us with regard to how we might tackle that and how we might embark upon that.

That very, very definitely will be part of the little roadmap that we’ll map out for the association and for clubs over the course of the next few weeks.

tom-ryan GAA director general Tom Ryan. Laszlo Geczo / INPHO Laszlo Geczo / INPHO / INPHO

Ryan added that the GAA still intend to stage Cúl Camps later this summer, saying: “We are in a very uncertain environment at the moment. We can’t guarantee anything. I can’t say to you here and now that yes, they are going to happen, but if you saw the sheer amount of energy and work that people in charge of putting them together are putting in to literally give us a chance of staging them, it is humbling and it is really impressive.

“If we get a chance at all and if the authorities tell us that it is safe to go ahead with them, we will be ready to do them.

Quite apart from the senior championships and so on, the Cúl Camps are a huge element of everybody’s summer in Ireland, so it would be lovely to think we can get them undertaken. We’ll make every effort to make sure we can, but it is only honest to say we are working on a few contingency plans just in case.
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