Friday 30 September 2016

Abuse of GAA referees needs to be stamped out at its roots

Published 20/09/2016 | 02:30

Croke Park: GAA promotes a ‘Give Respect – Get Respect’ ethos Picture: Maxwells
Croke Park: GAA promotes a ‘Give Respect – Get Respect’ ethos Picture: Maxwells

There is something rotten at the core of the GAA. I am a committed GAA man, having been a player, administrator, coach, volunteer and supporter. However, it is my latest role as 'an umpire' with a teenage referee that prompted me to write to your paper.

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The teenage ref receives abuse at virtually every game - these are all juvenile games. This onslaught comes mainly from mentors who describe themselves as 'Gaels' and speak with pride about 'our games'.

Every decision is questioned with the mildest comment being 'Ah ref,' mid-range comments such as 'You are blind, ref' or 'Go home, ref'. The higher-range comments, quite frankly, contain expletives and are extremely abusive and could simply not be repeated in your newspaper.

In most cases, the players are fine; however, in games where the mentors are particularly bad this 'seeps' through to the players on the field, who can also become abusive.

I have witnessed juvenile teams leaving a field - taking a lead from their managers and shouting abuse at the referee. I have spoken to a number of senior referees and they say "That's normal, just ignore it". This in itself is shocking. The message is: if you are a referee you have to take abuse. The GAA has a 'Give Respect - Get Respect' awareness campaign, which is good in theory but which has little practical benefit when you consider that in many, if not most cases, it is the mentors which are the cause of the problem.

We have had many controversies in the GAA - sledging, diving and the recent Sligo 'brawl'.

How can we expect anything else when players are brought up with a mentality of abuse and a lack of respect?

Name and address with editor

Young people need a new voice

Is anyone willing to speak up for the young, single professional who pays tax at a rate higher than our EU counterparts; extortionate rent; health insurance; pension contributions; and is also expected to save for a mortgage? I am one of many people in a position whereby my ability to save for my own home is becoming near impossible.

The Government seems to be completely ignoring the housing crisis young single professionals face. We often hear of the struggles facing those on social welfare in finding properties to rent.

Yet the problems facing single young professionals seems to be ignored - maybe it is because we do not shout loud enough, maybe we feel embarrassed that even though we are earning what is considered a good salary we cannot and will not be able to get onto the property ladder unless we are fortunate enough to have help from family. Yet all the while we are paying towards the welfare system, health system, etc and getting very little in return.

What is our Government going to do for us? We need to find our voice.

Evelyn Finegan

Blackrock, Dublin

PAC and 'old politics'

Seán Fleming's invitation for the Finance Minister to appear before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to answer questions about Project Eagle has a strong whiff of ''old politics' about it.

The collaborative ethos of this committee has served it well.

The fact ministers have been precluded by the standing orders from appearing before the PAC has contributed to this unique culture. However, its internal cohesion is threatened by initiatives of this nature.

It will be a significant loss to Irish politics if Mr Fleming's example leads to PAC members putting their party position ahead of the common good.If he wants to play adversarial politics, he should wait for the next Fianna Fáil front bench reshuffle.

PJ O'Meara

Co Tipperary

Paddy likes to get his mojo back

In declaring "I've got my mojo back", Enda Kenny confirms his earlier pronouncement that, "Generally, when people speak to each other they use words".

Since "Paddy likes to know what the story is" could the Taoiseach confirm if Myles na gCopaleen is assisting with his speeches?

Angela Polsen-Emy

Rathmines, Dublin 6

In view of the revelation that Enda Kenny had recovered his "mojo", could this be the reason that Fine Gael chose the ill-fated election slogan: "Keep the recovery going"? Was there a hidden connection or meaning, as Fine Gael's election performance seemed to lack libido?

John Gallagher

Tubbercurry, Co Sligo

Whatever about Enda, the lads from County Mayo certainly found their mojo in Croke Park.

Ted O'Keeffe

Ranelagh, Dublin 6

The mystery of Nama

In the Nama God, what's going on at all ?

Tom Gilsenan

Beaumont, Dublin 9

Trump, a hypothetical situation

My twin brother lives in New York and I live in the UK.

Recently envisaging a hypothetical situation where Donald Trump - whom my brother supports - won the US election, we both agreed that there would be mayhem and uproar initially, if not serious violence.

However, this would be the price to pay for innovative change.

Hillary Clinton has categorised Trump supporters as some sort of redneck Americans intent on being anti-establishment and putting the country at risk.

She has also said the office of president would be brought into disrepute. My brother and his friends view this as being a bit rich - it is also negated by Bill Clinton and the Lewinsky scandal. As my brother has lived in the US for many years I have to respect his political views, even if I do not agree with Trump being president.

However, I feel sorry that he and his friends have little choice if they want to see major changes, which they feel are long overdue.

Even Clint Eastwood has got in on the act by saying that America has become a nation of pussy cats.

Pat O'Grady

Middlesex , UK

All-England finals

I attended the Kilmacud Crokes GAA Sevens Final on Saturday. The final score after a draw was St Galls, 3 goals, Kilmacud Crokes, 2 goals, on penalties.

The All-Ireland Final on Sunday saw two own goals (Kevin McLoughlin and Colm Boyle).

But when I got home, I watched the presenters on Sky telling me that the 'All-England final' ended dramatically, when Cillian O Connor scored an equalising point in the seventh minute of injury time. I'm not making this up.

Eamonn Duignan

Killiney, Co Dublin

Irish Independent

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