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Blues breach Dublin GAA suspends football manager Dessie Farrell for three months after accepting players breached Covid-19 rules

It comes as Minister for Sport and the Gaeltacht Jack Chambers said he is “disappointed” and “frustrated” to see photographs of the training session.

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Dessie Farrell. Photo by Ray McManus / Sportsfile

Dessie Farrell. Photo by Ray McManus / Sportsfile

Dessie Farrell. Photo by Ray McManus / Sportsfile

Dublin GAA has suspended football manager Dessie Farrell for three months after accepting players breached Covid-19 rules.

In a statement this evening the County Management Committee said they carried out an investigation this afternoon on foot of photographs published in the Irish Independent.

The statement attributed to the Dublin management committee, insists that they “acknowledge that, following an investigation this afternoon, there was a breach of Covid-19 guidelines yesterday morning.

“The County Management Committee have suspended Dublin Senior Football manager Dessie Farrell for 12 weeks with immediate effect.

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The Dublin training session took place at an Innisfails GAA club pitch off the Malahide Road

The Dublin training session took place at an Innisfails GAA club pitch off the Malahide Road

The Dublin training session took place at an Innisfails GAA club pitch off the Malahide Road

“The Dublin senior football management and players recognise that this was a serious error of judgement and apologise unreservedly for their actions.”

It comes as gardaí confirmed they are examining alleged breaches of Covid regulations following a training session involving Dublin Gaa players.

Garda Headquarters has said that there are currently restrictions in place on training events and that, where potential breaches are identified, fines may be issued.

In response to queries if the training session at the Innisfail Gaa club, Balgriffin, is under investigation, gardaí said they are “making enquiries into reports of alleged breaches of Covid Regulations.

“The Health Act 1947 (Section 31A-Temporary Restrictions) (Covid-19) (No.10) Regulations 2020, as amended, are currently in force.

“Regulation 11 places restriction on training events. Regulation 11 is not declared to be a penal regulation.

“If Gardaí identify potential breaches of the public health regulations (travel restrictions) a Fixed Payment Notice may be issued where appropriate.

“An Garda Síochána has no further comment at this time,” the statement concluded.

It comes as Minister for Sport and the Gaeltacht Jack Chambers said he is “disappointed” and “frustrated” to see photographs of the training session.

Speaking this morning Mr Chambers said: “it was very clear there could not be a return to intercounty training until the 19th of April.

“To see a training session in breach of the rules is extremely disappointing, and surprising”.

The minister said officials in the department of sport have been in contact with the GAA this morning “reflecting our disappointment and frustration with what has happened”.

“The GAA now need to investigate it and establish the facts and follow through”.

“The GAA will need to send a clear signal to any other player or team that this is not acceptable, that they need to follow the rules and need to follow public health guidance”.

The Minister added, "What’s disappointing about today is that it’s important that the role models, people who are visible in society that they in particular follow the guidance and follow the rules”.

“I accept there’s frustration, people have had many weeks of restrictions and lockdown”, he said.

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Junior Sports Minister Jack Chambers (Niall Carson/PA)

Junior Sports Minister Jack Chambers (Niall Carson/PA)

Junior Sports Minister Jack Chambers (Niall Carson/PA)

Mr Chambers added that “it absolutely is” a slap in the face to the GAA supporters who are following the restrictions.

“Many people will be very disappointed this morning when they read what has happened”, said Mr Chambers speaking this morning on Newstalk.

But the minister said the breach in regulations should not affect counties resuming training on April 19th.

“We have 32 countries across the country that aren’t training and are waiting for the date of the 19th of April – and I think we have to allow that to proceed accordingly”, said the minster.

He added that “no team should train until they’re allowed to do so”.

He added that “many intercounty players have shown great leadership over the last 12 months in trying to enforce the public health measures”.

The minister said that the breach is “maybe” a matter for the gardai to investigate and “is a matter for them to decide”.

Meanwhile former Mayo footballer, Alan Dillon TD has said: “An immediate investigation must take place and I believe it is up to Dessie Farrell and the Dublin management team to make a statement in relation to this breach of the public health guidelines. Innisfails GAA club must also clarify why training was allowed to take place on their grounds.”

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