Cusack Park, Mullingar
Cusack Park, Mullingar
Bangers used to “destroy” toilets in Cusack Park
Westmeath GAA's County Board has robustly defended its policy of charging U16s into games at Cusack Park - citing the unruly behaviour of some teenagers as the reason for the charge.
The main reason given for the admission charge was that teenagers had been taking advantage of free entry into matches and using Cusack Park as a meeting place to engage in undesirable activities.
After a letter of complaint was received from The Downs club - which said the county’s board policy “smacked of Scroogism” - Westmeath GAA secretary James Savage read out a statement prepared by the County Committee, at its recent meeting.
“On the €3 for U16s into our Championship games - recently passed at our County Committee meeting with no dissenters - it must be said that over the past number of years Cusack Park on match days has been used as a meeting place for various groups of teenagers,” said the statement.
“Indeed on the day of a match we find that our Stewards are kept busy chiefly with this age group - between them using the disabled toilet along with the ladies toilet and on occasions the men’s toilets for activities that have no place at any game.”
The statement said that what gateman had to face in dealing with this problem had “gone beyond what we would consider reasonable”, adding that these teenagers were coming to games “unsupervised”.
It was claimed in the statement that “on several occasions”, toilets in Cusack Park “have been totally destroyed” by teenagers using bangers at matches.
“It should also be noted that we received a lot of complaints from our patrons attending matches at Cusack Park over the various activities of teenagers,” said the statement, which noted that the task of gatemen was made even more difficult by 18 and 19 year-olds “passing themselves off as U16s”.
“We appreciate the pressure on everyone nowadays financially, and have conveyed to our gatemen the issue regarding families and hope to introduce some system to alleviate the pressure.
“On Championship pricing, since the downturn in the economy, our prices have been reduced to take this into account.
“This has an affect indeed on our own finances - with ways of making up the shortfall becoming increasingly difficult and members should remember that this income is used to run all our hurling and football teams (inter-county) and indeed the upkeep of Cusack Park,” the statement continued.
The statement added that, “since the introduction of the charge (€3 on U16s), things have improved drastically”.
Westmeath GAA chairman Sean Sheridan remarked that it was “lucky that nobody was injured when a banger blew up one of the toilets” in Cusack Park.
“We’re getting complains that ladies won’t go into the toilets; that’s not good enough,” said Mr Sheridan.
He said some youths were not watching matches but instead were using Cusack Park for activities “not suitable for our county grounds” .
“I know times are tough but that’s the solution (the €3 charge) we proposed,” said the chairman.
The chairman also revealed that the county board will be putting family tickets in place to reduce the costs on families attending matches.
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