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Anger and confusion as fans prevented from attending matches

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LOCKED OUT: Michael Cronin (Chairman of Spa GAA) and Fergal Moynihan (Chairman of Legion GAA) are furious over the latest Government proposals for sport. Photo: Michelle Crean

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By Sean Moriarty

 

Local GAA clubs have reacted with shock and disappointment following the Government’s decision to ban spectators from matches until at least September 13.

 

Taoiseach Micheál Martin announced a range of new measures on Tuesday in an effort to contain the second spread of COVID-19.

One of the biggest restrictions is the complete banning of spectators from all sporting events. This came as a huge blow to local GAA clubs. The 2020 Garvey’s Senior Football Championship gets underway this weekend.

“The general view is that Government took the soft option having failed to agree on more unpopular decisions,” Spa GAA Club Chairman Michael Cronin said. “People are fairly fed up both with the Government and even the GAA itself as people paid up full membership and the club paid full insurance, but the club was closed for four months and people are still unable to see games.”

It was hoped that the number of attendees at games would increase from the previously allowed 200 people to 500 - but Tuesday’s decision went the opposite way.

“We are very disappointed with the decision. Totally unexpected. We were expecting the exact opposite. People were looking forward to seeing County Championship and quarter finals of the club championships," Michael added.

Legion Chairman Fergal Moynihan told the Killarney Advertiser that “it is a big blow for people".

“For club games it is a family thing, parents, partners, children want to go and support their players and it is the main part for them to be physically there. It was very difficult on club secretaries who had to turn people away and it was hoped that the increase to 500 would take the pressure off – it is gone the other way.”

GAA clubs in Killarney say this is unfair after they followed all guidelines in place since June 29. These included the extra work load of ticket issuing and the management of same. They are also baffled by the decision as there is no evidence that fans who attended matches since June 29 are contributing to the virus spread.

“Club fixtures are going to be very important this year,” Fergal added. “It is still emerging what is going to happen. The chances of inter-county games seem slim right now and the club championship will become even more important."

Clubs have warned too that they face financial difficulties in the future. The lack of spectators attending matches is having a negative impact on club’s balance sheets, Lotto income is reduced too due to pub closures but expenditure is increased due to new COVID-19 safety protocols.

“There won’t be a single club in the county that will be impacted by this,” added Fergal. “Even the County Board will be impacted.”

Policing the new rules will be difficult too.

“Clubs are working hard to keep all players training and involved in games. If parents alone can attend games the impact of this decision may not be as severe,” added Michael. “We can’t see any club turning people away from a gate at a club game at any level. The clubs will be expecting those same people to support their Lotto and other events.”

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New Patient Advocacy Service offering support to Kerry people

A newly established Patient Advocacy Service is offering support to people in the Kerry area who want to make a complaint about the care they have received in a public hospital. The service provides free, independent and confidential information and support to people making a formal complaint about their care in a Health Service Executive […]

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A newly established Patient Advocacy Service is offering support to people in the Kerry area who want to make a complaint about the care they have received in a public hospital.

The service provides free, independent and confidential information and support to people making a formal complaint about their care in a Health Service Executive (HSE) funded public acute hospital.

People in the Kerry area looking for support can contact the Patient Advocacy Service confidential helpline on 0818 293003 to speak to a trained advocate who will help them to get information on the HSE’s complaints investigation process, called ‘Your Service, Your Say’.

The professionally trained independent advocate will support and empower the person making the complaint, with the aim of highlighting their views and concerns.

The advocate will explain to the person how to write a formal complaint and what to include in it. They will also help the person prepare for meetings with the HSE about their complaint, and they will help the person explore their options following a response from the HSE to their complaint.

“Until now, people in Kerry and across Ireland who experienced difficulties in the Irish health service often felt there was nowhere for them to turn,” Service Manager for the Patient Advocacy Service, Claire Lehane, said.

GUIDANCE

“The newly established Patient Advocacy Service offers patients the guidance and information they need to make a complaint when they are unhappy with the care they receive. It is free, independent and run by our professionally trained patient advocates who will use their compassion and knowledge to guide people through the HSE complaints process.”

The helpline is open Monday to Friday from 10am until 4pm, including lunchtimes. You can also email info@patientadvocacyservice.ie or for more information see patientadvocacyservice.ie.

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New Kerry Dublin flight takes off

By Sean Moriarty The Kerry-Dublin air route returned to the skies for the first time in nearly seven weeks today (Wednesday). Budget airline Ryanair has taken over the route following the collapse of Stobart Air on June 12. At around 1pm, one of Ryanair’s Boeing 737-800 aircraft landed at the airport after completing its 50 minute […]

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By Sean Moriarty

The Kerry-Dublin air route returned to the skies for the first time in nearly seven weeks today (Wednesday).

Budget airline Ryanair has taken over the route following the collapse of Stobart Air on June 12.

At around 1pm, one of Ryanair’s Boeing 737-800 aircraft landed at the airport after completing its 50 minute journey for Dublin.

Less than 25 minutes later it was back in the sky again for its return journey to the capital.

The flight will operate once a day until September 1 when the frequency will increase to twice daily.

“We are happy to report a positive start to the service which has been absent since early June,” the airport’s CEO John Mulhern told the Killarney Advertiser. “Ryanair intends to operate the route once a day until the end of August and has committed to restoring a twice-daily service from September.”

The route is operated on a commercial basis by Ryanair. Since 2011, Aer Lingus, through its subsidiary Aer Lingus Regional or its partners Aer Arran and Stobart Air operated the flight as a Government support Public Service Obligation (PSO). Previously, between 2008 and 2011 Ryanair operated the route on a commercial basis but withdrew at short notice as it could not make it profitable.

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