GAA says facemasks in Croke Park are ‘advisory not compulsory’

Association says it has no legal right to enforce mask wearing at matches

The GAA has said it has no legal right to enforce the wearing of masks in Croke Park.

There were many critical of the scenes during the All-Ireland hurling final last week when large sections of the crowd were seen not to be wearing masks.

Earlier in the season Croke Park stadium director Peter McKenna told The Irish Times that compliance among attendances recently has been as low as 30 per cent.

A GAA spokesman said Croke Park is an outdoor setting and therefore there is no legal requirement to wear a mask.

However, he said the stadium announcers will continue on with public messaging urging spectators to wear them for their own safety and the safety of others.

Kerry play Tyrone in the delayed All-Ireland football semi-final in front of a crowd of 24,000 capped at people on Saturday with the same capacity set for the camogie semi-finals on Sunday.

On Friday, it was not clear if the game between Kerry and Tyrone would sell out as there are still tickets for sale.

Both the hurling and football All-Ireland finals are set to have a capacity of 40,000.

By law, you are mandated to wear a face covering in shops, shopping centres, cinemas, other designated indoor centres and on public transport, but it is advisory for all other settings including “ busy outdoor spaces where a lot of people gather”, according to the HSE guidelines.

A GAA spokesman said masks in outdoor settings are “advisory and we can’t make them compulsory”.

Instead, the GAA will continue with public messaging over the weekend before the start of the game, during water breaks and at half-time.

Tickets are allocated on a “pod basis” with people expected to stay in their seats, but many fans have breached that recommendation.

Earlier this week the chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan stated that only vaccinated people should be allowed to attend the All-Ireland football final which is scheduled for September 11th.

However, to date no request has come from the Government to the GAA to reserve attendance only for vaccinated people.

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times