GAA official on Covid restrictions: ‘Sometimes the cure is worse than the illness’

Athlone clubman and former Westmeath football committee chairman Dermot Fox spoke to county board delegates last night, after he was unanimously elected as Westmeath GAA’s assistant treasurer at a recent special convention.

“I will work in the best interests of our 47 shareholders in conjunction with James Savage [treasurer] and the rest of the management team,” Mr Fox said at the board’s online meeting.

“We’re entering/living in unprecedented times, with a situation that is evolving almost on a daily basis. As we speak, there are no supporters allowed into championship games, and our main income stream in Cumann Lúthchleas Gael Iarmhí has now totally dried up.

“For this situation to continue much longer, it would have a significant negative impact on our ability to function as we were set up to do.

“All income streams from Leinster Council and Croke Park have dried up also, and no inter-county matches have taken place either. As of today, there is no guarantee of there being inter-county action in 2020 either.

“We rely on Leinster Council and Croke Park for funding, and were inter-county matches to take place without supporters, it would leave them with little money to work with, and by extension, little money also to help us out. The only alternative then is government support.

“Your 47 shareholders may have to take big decisions to safeguard our Association, and take whatever action is necessary to ensure we emerge on the far side of this pandemic in a fit and healthy state. As custodians of the GAA, we owe it to our youth.

“Having stood at the gates at our championship matches in order to ensure compliance with government guidelines, it is heartbreaking to turn away Gaels who have given their whole lives to their club and county, and whose whole lives are embedded in the GAA.

“It’s time for the Government to revisit the decision banning all supporters from games, and look at the consequences for the mental health and wellbeing of our Gaels.

“As the old saying goes, sometimes the cure is worse than the illness.”

Westmeath GAA chairman, Billy Foley, congratulated Mr Fox on his election as assistant treasurer.

He said that it was great to have someone from Athlone on the committee again, and that geographical balance was important when it came to the management of the county’s GAA affairs.

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