independent

Friday 18 April 2014

O'Neill seizes chance to tackle all abuse

GAA president Liam O'Neill insists the latest allegations of racism within the Association have presented Croke Park with an opportunity to tackle all forms of abuse, WRITES DONNCHADH BOYLE.

While racism has dominated the headlines this week after Crossmaglen's Aaron Cunningham's allegations against Kilcoo, O'Neill wants to see the issue of abuse tackled as a whole.

"This is a wider issue and it gives us a chance to do something significant. If we pull it off it will be a benefit to sport in general," said O'Neill.

Solutions such as nominating a player to address referees, or playing underage games in silence, have been mooted, while any member found guilty of abuse could undergo a re-education programme before being allowed to return to GAA activities.

"Anybody who is demeaned in any way, by involvement in our games, is a source of regret to us. And we don't want it.

"We're going to take a calm look at this, for a couple of months, then take a motion to Congress that will bring about an end to this. If you're not allowed to shout abuse at someone on the street, you shouldn't be allowed to do it on the pitch either.

"I think it's probably enough to suspend people – we might go through an education programme before they are allowed back. I'm not sure is that feasible to do with the rules, but the club that has players who use abuse should be made hold a programme for their players to re-educate them."

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