Northern Ireland news

Disabled Tyrone GAA fans told to stand for crunch Dublin game

Tyrone prepare to take the field during the Ulster Senior Football Championship quarter final at Healy Park, Omagh. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin

DISABLED Tyrone GAA fans have said they will not be able to attend a crunch match against Dublin after being forced to stand at their own home ground.

Season ticket holders have been told they are only entitled to stand in the terraces at Healy Park in Omagh for the Super 8 game on Saturday July 21.

Until now, fans who bought the €120 pass have been seated at all matches, both home and away.

According to those contacting the Irish News, most believed their season ticket entitled them to seats at all matches and bought them for that reason.

However, on Thursday they were sent out an allocation of places in the terraces.

"I was ripping," Sean Bleeks, a blue badge holder from Ardboe, said.

"I couldn't believe that. I said `That email's been sent to the wrong person.

"I didn't buy a season ticket for to go to stand in the terrace. I bought a season ticket to sit in the stand. It's the reason I buy them.

"I'll not be fit to go."

Gerard Taggart from Omagh said he was expecting seats as usual for the match which he is attending with his 74-year-old disabled father, 10-year-old daughter and 16-year-old nephew.

"I wrote to them to explain the situation, that my father was a blue badge holder and there were also two juveniles, and I was hoping it was early enough, with two weeks to the game that they would change it, but there was a reply which seemed to come from a computer saying it would only be standing.

"I haven't told my father yet, because I don't want him to be annoyed with it but he won't be able to stand for the match.

"We may be able to get seats through the club but that will be paying twice."

A spokesman for the GAA said there are "more than 4,600 season ticket holders and only 4,000 seats" and its policy is "unless there is adequate seating in place for all season ticket holders the season ticket holders are housed in a terraced area".

"This policy has been in place all summer and saw Mayo's 3,500 season ticket holders in the terrace in St Conleth's Park.

"Season ticket holders in Cusack Park in Ennis were also accommodated in the terrace as there was a lack of seats.

"There is no intention of purposely discommoding supporters.

"The demand for this match exceeds what is possible to supply but season ticket holders are guaranteed a ticket for a match that will sell out.

"The stand tickets in Healy Park will go to the two county boards and the players from the competing counties."

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