GAA asks HSE: can we maintain pitches during lockdown?

The GAA are seeking clarification from the HSE regarding the current coronavirus guidelines currently preventing them from cutting pitches.

It follows a decision yesterday that golf course maintenance qualifies as an essential service “which cannot be performed at home, and therefore can continue during this period” after the Golfing Union of Ireland and Irish Ladies Golf made an approach to the Government.

A circular by Cork County Board executive to clubs on Tuesday informed them that they would not be able to mow their playing surfaces as part of the lockdown. “No activities should be undertaken at any club grounds between now and April 12, (including grass cutting), apart from emergency situations,” it read.

The HSE have stressed that all golf course staff must adhere to their guidelines in relation to safety and physical distancing. Each golf club has been told they have to supply their course staff with identification and documentation to prove they are essential employees in the event they stopped by An Garda Siochána while travelling to or from work.

The GAA have confirmed that they are hoping to ascertain if the same consideration be given to their groundsmen. Four years ago, the organisation teamed up with the Irish Golf Course Superintendents Association of Ireland (IGCSAI) to establish a pitch maintenance work group. Croke Park pitch manager Stuart Wilson and IGCSAI general manager Damian McLaverty are members of the committee and there is a groundsman section on the IGCSAI website.

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