Gardaí send West Cork GAA Covid breach case to DPP

Gardaí send West Cork GAA Covid breach case to DPP

File picture of GAA players training

THE Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has received a file pertaining to the Covid restriction breach by a GAA club team in West Cork in March.

A probe into the matter has concluded after a team were reported for collectively training during level 5 restrictions.

In April, gardaí confirmed their Clonakilty station was investigating “all the circumstances of this incident”.

Responding to a query from the Irish Examiner the Garda press office stated: “A file has been forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecutions in relation to this matter.” 

The Cork County Board executive declined to comment on Monday night.

Having been made aware of the incident, they have established their own subcommittee “to seek observations from a unit of the association in the county in relation to alleged Covid-19 training breaches”, said chairman Marc Sheehan. 

“We will be dealing with this matter in due course.” In a previous statement, they warned “public health guidance on training is very clear. 

"Any club found to have been in breach of that guidance will face consequences as a result."

That a file has been issued to the DPP may appear unusual in light of no action being taken against Dublin senior footballers for a Covid restriction breach when they attended a training session in Innisfails GAA club on March 31. 

Despite being spoken to by gardaí, the investigation concluded without any fine being issued.

It is understood the investigation in West Cork is a more complicated case as previously indicated by the fact gardaí had been looking into “all the circumstances of this incident." 

Initially, they stated they were carrying out inquiries into “possible breaches of the Health Act 1947 at a sports club in West Cork.”

Having taken responsibility for the illegal Dublin training session, Dessie Farrell’s 12-week suspension is not due to run out until July 1, three days prior to their Leinster SFC quarter-final against Wexford or Wicklow.

A similar ban for Monaghan boss Seamus McEnaney for organising a large training gathering in Corduff in March elapses around the same time —Monaghan face Fermanagh in an Ulster SFC quarter-final on July 3.

As was the case for their Division 1 round games, neither manager will be permitted to attend the knock-out games. 

Dublin face Donegal in Cavan in a Division 1 semi-final on June 12 while Monaghan host Galway in a relegation play-off in Clones the following day.

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