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Croke Park Eid event looks to maintain 500 attendees as government slows down reopening

Organisers hope the government will give special consideration to the event similar to that given to places of worship after a request from the Archbishop of Dublin earlier this month.

Image: Derick Hudson/Shutterstock

ORGANISERS OF THE Eid Al Adha celebration due to take place in Croke Park have asked the government for permission to allow 500 people to attend the event.

The announcement that Phase 4 of the reopening has been delayed means that only 200 would be allowed attend the event, which is due to take place on 31 July or 1 August. Phase 4 was due to kick in on 20 July, and would have allowed 500 people attend the outdoor event.

Now the organisers hope that the government will give special consideration to the Eid Al Adha event. It follows a successful request from Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin earlier this month for the government to allow places of worship to hold a higher number of people indoors than other venues during Phase 3 of reopening.

Following a Cabinet meeting last night, the government has decided to keep the number of people allowed to gather outdoors at 200 until August 10, when it is to then be raised to 500. The number was originally due to increase from the start of next week.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie, Shaykh Dr Umar Al-Qadri of the Irish Muslim Peace & Integration Council and organiser of the event said that “unfortunately, this means that Eid Al Adha is impacted”.

“We absolutely understand the importance of the social distancing guidelines – in fact, it was our Islamic Centre that, before any other place of worship in Ireland, announced that it was closed.”

Al-Qadri said that he has written to Taoiseach Michéal Martin to ask that the government consider appropriate guidelines for the event, similar to an exception that was granted to places of worship after a request by Archbishop Martin.

At the start of July, the government issued new guidance that allowed places of worship to hold more than 50 people indoors, provided that social distancing was observed and that the premises would be divided into distinct areas which would each hold no more than 50 people.

“I have asked Michéal Martin for the same dispensation,” Al-Qadri said.

“Our event is a once a year event and we have had a tremendous response from the Muslim, but also the larger community.”

Al-Qadri said that attendees have been asked to wear masks to the outdoor event, bring their own prayer mats, and to refrain from shaking hands.

“We are not asking any favouritism, we’re just asking to be given the same dispensation that was granted to the church on the request of Archbishop Diarmuid Martin.”

The Croke Park stadium can usually accommodate up to 82,300 people at full capacity.

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Upon the announcement of the event, GAA President John Horan said that the stadium was “delighted to welcome members of the Muslim Community to Croke Park to mark Eid Al Adha, an important date in the Muslim calendar”.

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