Thursday 25 December 2014

Private GAA stewards for finals is 'over the top', says council chief

Joe Leogue

Published 08/07/2014 | 02:30

CORK GAA and the Munster Council are at loggerheads over the security arrangements for the football and hurling Munster Finals taking place in Pairc Ui Chaoimh this month.

Bob Ryan, chairman of Cork County Board, yesterday described the decision to bring in a private security company to steward Sunday's Munster Football Final in Pairc Ui Chaoimh as "a waste of hard-earned money".

"In my opinion I thought it was totally unnecessary and over the top," Mr Ryan said of the decision to employ the Dublin-based Frontline Security company to steward last Sunday's clash between Cork and Kerry. For decades the stewarding of inter-county matches in Munster was carried out by volunteers.

"To my knowledge, and I'm open to correction, it was the first time it was ever done in the province of Munster.

"They (the Munster Council) are using the excuse of health and safety but I don't honestly understand it myself. I very much favour ensuring everything is done to maintain health and safety standards, but the max expected yesterday was 25,000.

"Bringing a security company in was, in my opinion, totally unnecessary and in very poor taste. It has gone down very poorly with the Cork GAA public," he said.

Mr Ryan said that he had received "tremendously negative feedback" from members of the public regarding the security arrangements following the game.

Next Sunday's clash between Cork and Limerick is expected to bring a capacity crowd to Pairc Ui Chaoimh, but Mr Ryan dismissed suggestions that last weekend's football fixture could be seen as a 'dry run' for the security arrangements ahead of the bigger fixture.

"We're GAA people, we've never had issues in relation to crowd control in Cork or at any match in Munster either. I've attended Munster finals and Munster championship matches for many, many years now. I've never seen any issue with crowd control.

Mr Ryan said that he has spoken to Munster Council officials about the issue.

"I represent Cork on the Munster Council myself and I will be pursuing the issue going forward. I think it is an absolute waste of good, hard earned money in bringing in these security companies for a game like yesterday (Sunday)," he said, adding that he does not yet know the cost of the security arrangement's at the Munster football final.

Supporters took to social media yesterday to vent their anger at the security arrangements.

One fan tweeted a picture of a team of stewards forming a human barrier on the pitch after the full-time whistle.

"Ukraine? No Cork," the caption read.

Irish Independent

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