*James Murrihy. Photograph: Burren Eye Photography
History is to be made next week as Cusack Park opens its gates for a Cúl Camp for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
From 10am to 2pm across Tuesday to Thursday next week, Clare will become only the third county in the country to host a Cúl Camp specifically for children on the autism spectrum following in the footsteps of Wexford and Offaly.
Speaking to The Clare Echo, JSports Inclusion Disability Officer James Murrihy admitted that it is something he always wanted to see come to fruition. “It is great to be a leader rather than a follower and not to be the fifteenth or sixteenth county but to be the third county to do it”.
He outlined, “Initially we targeted looking at 120 kids and do sixty in the morning and the afternoon but we’ve settled on the mid fifties, there is an air of trepidation with parents”.
“It is a pilot to see how we go, hopefully it will grow and expand as the country gets back to full normality in 2022 and the numbers will increase. It’s a pilot with the GAA but it is something that would be rolled out to other sports,” the Kilmurry Ibrickane clubman commented.
All children to participate will be on the autism spectrum. The location of Cusack Park for the camp is a significant one, he believed. “The opportunity for the kids to participate in the camp in Cusack Park is massive. From the parents perspective a lot of the kids would be flight risks being that they would go outside a venue and not have the understanding of the rules of the roads or that. In Cusack Park, you’re looking at a situation where everything is enclosed, it is a safe ground, it is a very spacious and parents can stay if they want to stay, there will be opportunities for social distancing whereas if we were going to a club ground it will be a lot harder to manage logistically”.
Games Development Administrator with Clare GAA, Micheál Duffy outlined, “We want to be as inclusive as possible. When James got in touch in March we were 100 percent behind it. It is really nice to be able to do it in Cusack Park”.