Tom Ryan says re-opening GAA fields ‘has to be safe’

The GAA has been widely praised for the association’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Croke Park along with several other stadia have been used as testing centres, while there have been countless community projects undertaken by clubs and counties.

However, one restriction which hasn’t proven universally popular has been the decision to keep club grounds closed until July 20. Several high profile players, past and present, have since come out calling for club grounds to be re-opened.

Please reopen our GAA pitches😊
Public parks are open and were packed over the weekend, yet rural club areas within 5km of people's homes cant be accessed for use of safe walkways and to enjoy the grass roots of the community.#club #exercise #physicalhealth #mentalhealth #GAA

It would be great if the GAA brought forward plans to open up our grounds again. Almost everyone is adhering to social distancing guidelines and I can’t see that this will be any different if they were open. Give our people a place of solace to go for a walk or some practice.

Speaking on Tuesday, GAA director general Tom Ryan said that they are following advice from the association’s recently-formed Covid-19 Advisory Group.

“GAA clubs are part of communities around the country,” Ryan said in an interview with GAA.ie. “In almost every case, they’re more than just football and hurling pitches. The committee rooms are used by all manner of organisations… Pitches are used for all manner of things, whether it be going for a walk or a puck-around or whatever.

“It’s important that we get back to using our facilities for those purposes, but it has to be done in a controlled way and it has to be done in a safe way.

“That will be part of the road-map that we map out for the association for clubs over the course of the next few weeks.”

The group had their latest meeting on Monday night, as they continue to consider the situation.

“They’ll be the people who guide the association as we look towards getting back up and running, how we can get back up and running,” explained Ryan. “It’s very important for us to have people of that expertise available to us, because our key undertaking is running football and hurling.

“There are some very important decisions ahead for us.

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