GAA Brawls Are Not Above The Law

GAA President John Horan has called for an end to issues of violence at club games and cited these are not above the law.

Social media has carried video of flash points in the Kerry SFC semi-final replay between Dingle and East Kerry and melees in Derry, Down, Tyrone and Cork.

In an address to be carried in the October edition of the GAA Club Newsletter, Horan says,

“We cannot allow people to believe that they can behave differently than they would on the street just because they are wearing a jersey or a team tracksuit top or are attending a game.

“An act of violence is an act of violence regardless of where it takes place. The perpetrators of these incidents are not above the law.

“This time of year is synonymous with a hectic programme of club championship activity and where another pulsating season of county club action draws to a close.”

“For all the triumph and glory that we have witnessed, our attention, regrettably, has been drawn to the reports and imagery of flash points of indiscipline that have flared up in a small
number of games around the country.”

“Although these brawls and acts of indiscipline have been few – let us be clear, they have still been a few too many and have no place in our Games.”

“All of us involved in playing, supporting and administrating our games have a duty of care to protect the reputation of the games that we are involved in. Indiscipline compromises that
reputation.

“Players need to show restraint. Referees need to be respected and allowed to do their job and officials need to follow the rules that are in place for dealing with issues that arise. Supporters need to also behave responsibly” added Horan.

“We should be cognisant at all of our games that players, managers and parents are role models for children in the GAA, and we must all live up to the principles of the Give Respect – Get Respect initiative.

“For the purpose of clarity, incidents that arise at local level are a matter for the organising committee in charge within that county to deal with. But there is still a collective
responsibility on us all to take appropriate action where necessary and show leadership when it is required.

While highlighting the work done at inter-county to improve discipline, the GAA President highlighted crowded sideline’s, a feature of many club grounds with limited spectator facalities.

“The issue of crowded sideline’s needs to be taken into account as a contributory factor in some of these incidents” explained Horan.

“These issues are small when set against the backdrop of the thousands of games that are played nationwide in the proper manner and spirit. But while small in number their negative impact is significant and we simply cannot tolerate that behavior.”

“It is not reflective of the Association which we know we have and that is why we should not and will not tolerate its existence.”