An investigation must take place into the Dublin GAA training session, according to former Mayo footballer, Alan Dillon TD, who is Fine Gael’s spokesperson for Tourism & Sport.
Deputy Dillon said: “The photographic evidence in today’s Irish Independent of a number of Dublin footballers and a coach engaging in a training session is highly disappointing.
“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.
“It is possible that the Dublin players shown training in the photos were there under pressure from the Dublin management team. We all understand the ultra-competitive environment of the Dublin panel but there is no excuse for an organised training session in breach of Covid guidelines. I would warn against any knee jerk reactions or indeed targeting of abuse at the players in question here. We need a full investigation to establish what happened.
“We are currently at the highest level of health restrictions. The reason for this is simple; to save lives and keep people out of hospitals.
“Covid numbers are still very high and our frontline workers, made up of thousands of GAA members, are out working for us every day in hospitals, ambulances, schools, at garda checkpoints, shops and across a variety of sectors. They are our championship team and are playing a blinder.
“In the GAA world, the Dublin senior football team are the most revered. They have achieved the ultimate success repeatedly and are deservedly lauded for that. However with that comes responsibility in their role as GAA and sports ambassadors – responsibility to the GAA community, their clubs, to their families, supporters and to those who look up to emulate them.
“This training session in Malahide simply should not have happened. Organised training cannot take place currently – it is against the national health guidelines and GAA rules. It is particularly galling that this should take place mere days after a circular from the GAA made it clear that there should be no organised events or training.
“We are all eager to return to GAA pitches with clubs and counties. But we can only do so in a safe manner. Blatant breaches of the rules such as this one, will inevitably delay a return.
By sticking to the guidelines and supporting each other, we can all get back to the sports we love”, Deputy Dillon concluded.