The decision of the GAA congress to make racism a specific offence with dismissals and match bans is welcome and an example to all sporting, public and other membership organisations, according to the Immigrant Council of Ireland.
The Council says the overwhelming vote and rule change is an important step in efforts to end complacency around racism.
Denise Charlton, Chief Executive of the Council said:
“As an organisation which reaches every community in Ireland the GAA has a responsibility to ensure that racism does not happen in all its clubs and grounds.
GAA players are sporting icons for our young people and by taking a stand against racism they are setting an example which should be followed in school and other lower level games.
In particular we believe that introducing a red card offence with bans of eight weeks or more sends out a strong message. It is important in the coming months that the impact of the new rule is kept under review to ensure it provides a robust response to any incidents.
The Immigrant Council of Ireland saw an 85pc jump in reported cases to firstname.lastname@example.org in 2013, showing that Ireland is finally coming to grips with the problem and that there is a growing realisation in every aspect of Irish life that action is needed.
In the coming months we will be launching new awareness campaigns to reach out to victims and make clear that they have nothing to fear in coming forward, while we will also continue a review of Irish law to make sure it is fit for purpose and can deliver a robust response to racism no matter where it occurs.”