Coronavirus: Croke Park to become testing ‘drive-thru’ centre

HSE arrangements at ‘advanced stage’ to open up further testing centres in Dublin

Croke Park is to be used as a temporary testing centre for coronavirus in north Dublin from Tuesday, the Health Service Executive has said.

The HSE had been in contact with the GAA in recent days about using the 80,000 stadium as a testing centre, as it is not currently being used for sporting events.

In a statement a HSE spokeswoman said the testing centre in the stadium would be the first to start testing in north Dublin.

“Arrangements are at an advanced stage for other designated testing centres within north Dublin, and these will commence over the coming days,” she said.


Previously tests were administered in the homes of those suspected of having the virus by members of the National Ambulance Service, and in acute hospitals.

Local residents in the area surrounding the stadium received correspondence from Croke Park on Monday about the decision.

“Following a high-level request from the HSE today and in the national interest, Croke Park is to become a ‘drive-thru’ facility for testing for Covid-19 for designated appointments. This will not be a walk-up service,” the email to locals read.

“The stadium layout has been identified as being suitable for facilitating this important service at this time. As soon as we have further information, we will share it with you,” it continued.

“It is essential that people do not turn up without an appointment to this designated testing centre,” the HSE spokeswoman said.

GP referrals

Since Monday, GPs across the country have been able to refer people who have symptoms of the condition, such as a cough and fever, and those who were in close contact with a positive Covid-19 case, for testing.

“If a GP refers a person for testing they will receive a text message with the time and location of their test. It is in everybody’s interest that we maintain this appointment schedule,” the HSE spokeswoman said.

“We thank local residents, Croke Park and the GAA for their support during this time. Our collective efforts now will mean that we are in a position to provide timely access services to the people who need it,” she said.

HSE staff in some Dublin primary care centres have been informed to provide details on how many staff would be required to maintain essential services, to free up other healthcare workers to be temporarily redeployed elsewhere as the health service prepares to significantly ramp up testing for coronavirus, officially known as Covid-19, in the coming days.

Jack Power

Jack Power

Jack Power is a reporter with The Irish Times