Thursday, January 25, 2007

Meeting with Peter McKenna

On 04 December, Tony Cluskey (Chairperson), Joe Nugent (Secretary) & Mary Forde (Treasurer) met with Peter McKenna, Stadium Director at Croke Park to discuss a range of concerns regarding the treatment of supporters over the summer.

The issues of searching supporters, behaviour of the "paid" stewards, and the availability of alcohol inside the ground were the main issues raised.

The reps explained that they had received a number of complaints regarding ground entrance procedures. On a number of occasions elderly supporters and juvenile supporters who had arrived early at the ground had been put through search processes. In one case an 8 year old attending with his father had his bag of sweets searched! This contrasted with no searching taking place in the minutes leading up to throw-in. This process was then compounded by supporters being subjected to search procedures by "paid" stewards inside the ground. Mr. McKenna accepted that these experiences were far from ideal and in respect of searches by "paid" stewards were completely unacceptable. Only members of the Gardai Siochana were allowed to conduct searches, except in the most extreme circumstances, and members who experienced such behaviour in the future should take note of the stewards number and report to the Croke Park authorities.

With regard to the sale of alcohol the representatives expressed major worries about the future implications of this development, particularly problems with access to crowds queueing at stalls and the possibility of crowd segregation. Whereas Mr. McKenna understood these concerns but explained that the policy decision had been made to provide bar facilities to all those attending games & not just restricted to the corporate areas.

The representatives believed that they had received a fair hearing and were impressed by Mr. McKenna's desire to make the experience of all those attending Croke Park as enjoyable as possible. It was agreed that future issues would be brought to his attention.

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