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GAA provided stadiums to HSE for testing at no cost

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Croke Park facilities were free. Photo: Sportsfile

Croke Park facilities were free. Photo: Sportsfile

Croke Park facilities were free. Photo: Sportsfile

The GAA - facing lost revenues of up to €60m this year due to Covid-19 - has provided its Croke Park facilities and other grounds across the country to the HSE for Covid testing at no cost.

The HSE set up its first drive-thru test centre for north Dublin at Croke Park on March 15, as the numbers of Covid-19 cases rose rapidly.

In response to a Freedom of Information request, the HSE confirmed it is in occupation of part of the facility by way of a 'gentleman's agreement' and at no cost to the HSE.

The FOI figures show that the GAA has provided all grounds used as Covid test centres at virtually no cost to the HSE. The HSE states that the projected capital spend on its 49 Covid-19 test centres is €2.2m.

A spokeswoman for the HSE stated: "Some test centres were required for a short period of time only - decisions on this were made by local service management, based on service needs/numbers of people referred for testing.

"The capital cost of the facility was dependent on the facility itself. Some did not require any alterations/amendments and consequently were at zero cost.

"Others required a lot of alterations such as amended access road, increased parking areas, the creation of Testing Bays, portacabins for staff facilities and awnings."

Irish Independent