Anger and frustration have been widely expressed on social media at the government’s decision to revert to holding matches behind closed doors.
Thousands of families who had returned to matches and training, with a maximum number of 200 people in attendance, have now been told that they need to adhere to a 15 people limit on outdoor gatherings. The GAA have called for the National Public Health Emergency Team to present the “empirical evidence” for the restrictions.
Anthony Daly, former Clare hurling champion said that the decision was a disgrace.
No organization in the country did more than the GAA to help their community’s when the pandemic hit first . The looked for the vulnerable in their parish’s and offered them help .i saw that at first hand . A disgrace what happened today . #shameonthisgovernment @MichealMartinTD
— Anthony Daly (@DaloAnto) August 18, 2020
Many felt the GAA was being targeted despite the efforts of volunteers during the pandemic.
Scapegoating of the GAA whom have been excellent during this virus must stop now.
— Peter Burke (@PeterBu07453526) August 18, 2020
And the news was described as a “kick in the teeth” by many on social media. “The volunteers of the gaa and other sports orgs have bent over backwards to provide a safe environment for the players and spectators. This is a kick in the teeth. If the Gaa activities are spreading this virus, then provide the evidence,” wrote one woman.
The volunteers of the gaa and other sports orgs have bent over backwards to provide a safe environment for the players and spectators. This is a kick in the teeth. If the gaa activities are spreading this virus, then provide the evidence. The gaa dont seem to be aware of any
— Siobhan Costello (@SiobhanCostell1) August 19, 2020
Duagh GAA said the decision was “crazy”.
Crazy decision (my opinion) from NPHET on games attendance.Wrong areas being targeted,Target parties,travel,city pubs etc.We dont play our games in meat factories or mushroom tents & we have been working hard and obeying rules.What do we get? kick in the ass.
— Duagh GAA (@DuaghGAA1) August 18, 2020
Meath West TD Peadar Tóibín asked for evidence of match attendances spreading the virus.
Has any one caught Covid-19 watching their 9 year old play hurling? pic.twitter.com/KeaiMhI1sb
— Peadar Tóibín (@Toibin1) August 18, 2020
Responding, Risteárd Ó Fuaráín said: “We took Ballyheigue GAA U12 Hurlers to Lixnaw GAA yesterday. Social distancing adhered to. Sanitisation points at various points. Looked pretty safe to me.”
While another commented: “Peadar I just don’t get it at all. Very odd advice today. You can’t watch your kid play in the open air but 50 of us can go to a family wedding. No [social distancing] on school buses but the same kids have to [social distance] on public transport at the weekend to go to town. Shouldn’t it be consistent?”
Sports clubs were bring punished for doing everything right, said one commentator:
GAA Clubs and Counties are after sacrificing so much since March. We have lead by example, we have listened and adapted. They are other problems that need to be addressed, but yet sporting events gets punished for doing everything right. #GAA #unfair #sport https://t.co/JMvQ8vbZim
— TJ Reid (@_tjreid) August 18, 2020
Most commentators agreed for the need to show data justifying the restrictions.
“[The] GAA are right to ask for the actual data that informed the decision making on this. They represent hundreds of thousands of people, many of whom are frustrated. If it’s evidence based decision making then show them the evidence on why GAA need to curtail some elements, wrote one supporter on Twitter.
GAA are right to ask for the actual data that informed the decision making on this. They represent hundreds of thousands of people, many of whom are frustrated. If it’s evidence based decision making then show them the evidence on why GAA need to curtail some elements.
— Richard Kelly (@richiekelly83) August 18, 2020
Laois Offaly TD Carol Nolan said “there is a clear sense now that the guidelines are incoherent and simply do not make sense based on the advice that was previously given out.”
However, some took issue with the statement issued by the GAA and supported the restrictions
Many GAA folk on this could do with relaxing a bit. Whether we like it or not, during a pandemic, attending or even playing matches, is actually not the most important thing
— Timmy Hammersley (@TimmyHammersley) August 18, 2020
The GAA would want to take a deep breath now.
There should be communication but protocol and courtesy are important. Spoiling for a fight with the most important civil servant in the country right now at a very grave time is not a good look. A bit of discretion and decorum.
— Anthony O'Connor (@Antcon7062) August 18, 2020