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Clear messaging Former GAA president says 'collective leadership' needed to ensure masks worn by spectators

'I think people have taken the foot off the pedal of caution. That is a worry and we have to get that back'

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Former GAA president Liam O'Neill. Photo: Sportsfile

Former GAA president Liam O'Neill. Photo: Sportsfile

Former GAA president Liam O'Neill. Photo: Sportsfile

The former president of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) has said that “collective leadership” is needed to ensure that masks are worn by spectators at Croke Park games.

40,000 fans attended last weekend’s All-Ireland hurling final between Cork and Limerick, and Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said that footage of crowds congregating without face coverings after the match was a cause of “concern.”

Up to 24,000 people will head to Croke Park this Saturday for the All-Ireland football semi-final between Kerry and Tyrone, and 40,000 will watch the Senior Ladies’ Football Championship on September 5th before another crowd of 40,000 attend the men’s finals on Saturday 11th September.

Liam O'Neill, the former president of the GAA, has expressed his concern that Croke Park’s mask mandate is not being followed through and said that there needs to be “collective leadership” to ensure the safety of attendees.

“I think in leadership there needs to be explanations, there needs to be education, there needs to be constant, clear messaging. I’m not quite sure we’ve done that so far across the board,” he said.

“I think people have taken the foot off the pedal of caution. That is a worry and we have to get that back.

“We need to start having a collective message here that people who are privileged enough to go to these games have a responsibility. I think government have to do that and I think we [the GAA] as an organisation have to do it. 

Mr O’Neill said that a message should be emailed to all ticket holders reminding them to wear a face covering at matches.

“I don’t think it’s too much to ask anybody to wear a mask... We need to be firm with people who misbehave that they’re endangering the rest of the population. 

“We have a huge reputation in the GAA for doing the responsible thing, we behaved wonderfully at the start of this pandemic. We just need to be reminded that we need to continue to do it.”

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