Taoiseach praises response of GAA clubs to COVID-19
By John Harrington
The Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, has praised GAA volunteers for responding to the needs of the most vulnerable in their communities during the COVID-19 health crisis.
A survey of approximately 1,600 GAA clubs by the Association’s Community and Health Department published earlier this month found that 19,164 GAA volunteers directly supported 34,571 people in a variety of ways.
“Part of the concept that we stand for as a nation are cothrom na féinne and ní neart go cur le chéile and we've seen that ethic, I think, demonstrated by GAA clubs and members and volunteers around the country,” said the Taoiseach today when visiting the COVID-19 community testing centre in Croke Park.
“Over 80 per cent of clubs in some way have responded to the community call and are helping out in their community in a million different ways and you know who you are and what you do and I just want to extend my profound thanks on behalf of the Government and on behalf of the Irish people for everything that the GAA community has done.”
The Taoiseach also paid tribute to the GAA for making Croke Park and other GAA stadia around the country available as COVID-19 testing facilities which he believes has played a major role in the suppression of the virus.
“I have to say it's been a privilege to visit Croke Park today and meet with the staff working in the testing centre here,” said the Taoiseach.
“Croke Park became one of the first facilities to become a testing centre at the very start of this pandemic and the Government and HSE are extraordinarily grateful to the GAA for making your grounds and facilities available for testing centres.
“I think without the support that you've given us it would not have been possible to get the virus under control in the way that it has been.
“I know we'd all much prefer grounds being used for games and concerts over the summer, but this is an extraordinary once in a generation event and the GAA has really risen to the nation's call.”
The Taoiseach is hopeful we’ll see a gradual return to playing sport in time, but has warned against any complacency in the fight against COVID-19.
“Things are going in the right direction. We can't be complacent, but things are going in the right direction in terms of the number of new cases going down and thankfully the number of deaths going down and, you know, I'm hopeful that we'll see a return to sport, not overnight, but bit by bit over the next couple of weeks and couple of months.
“And I think we're going to appreciate it all the more for having been absent for this period.”