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GAA Congress To Hault Pitch Invasions

GAA President Christy Cooney

Croke Park remains strongly committed to ending the practice of the invading of pitches by supporters after major games, GAA President Christy Cooney informed delegates at last night’s opening session of Congress held in Newcastle, Co. Down.

A strong presentation from former Tipperary chairman Mr.Con Hogan, GAA trustee and Chairman of the special sub-committee set up by President Cooney to examine the issue, further highlighted the urgent need to act on this statement.

A video highlighting the dangers of pitch invasions and carrying a stark warning from English pitch safety expert Paul Scott, was also shown, after which delegates responded overwhelmingly to Mr.Cooney’s plea for an endorsement of this policy, now being actively pursued.

GAA president Christy Cooney stated:
“We want to educate, not enforce, but as last resort, we will seek from Government, suitable legislation to outlaw this unsafe current practice.”

Con Hogan stated in his address:
“I want to visualise a future Congress, maybe next year’s, when we will begin by standing for a minute’s silence in memory of people who died at one of our major games because we did not exercise due care and proper crowd control. I want you to consider a future where the name of Croke Park, or Thurles, or Clones or some other GAA stadium, is linked forever with Ibrox Heysel and Hillsborough, not as iconic sports venues, but as a place where people died, because we failed to exercise proper safe crowd control. They cannot all be wrong and the 96 people who died at Hillsborough, the 66 who died at Ibrox and the 39 who died at Hysel, are all the necessary proof required.”

All the professional advice from skilled agencies such as International Sports Bodies, the Gardaí, Health and Safety Officers warn of the dangers of such pitch invasions.

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