Martin Breheny: Secrecy no deterrent to offences
However serious the offence that occurs on their playing fields, the official policy of the Cavan County Board is not to inform the public of the outcome of the disciplinary process which follows.
Silence reigns, except for those directly involved, who are issued with the findings. If the media inquire, they are told that "it is not the policy of the CCC (Competitions Control Committee) to publish the outcome of any disciplinary action taken."
That was the reply I received on requesting the outcome of the probe into how Simon Cadden (Ramor United) came to sustain a serious ear injury in a club game in early May. The Irish Independent reported it at the time and also the fact that it was to be investigated.
On being told that releasing such information was not CCC policy, I sought clarification if that was also the policy of the County Board, the supreme ruling body in the county.
I pointed out that CCC was a sub-committee of the Board and that it also seemed strange that, unlike the GAA centrally, which issues the results of investigations, Cavan did not.
In an emailed response which reiterated CCC policy, Board PRO Declan Woods wrote:
"The CCC note your observation that this may be strange, however, they feel the need for justice to be seen to be done must be balanced by the rights of the player/individual who is alleged to have breached GAA rules.
"This is reflected in the policy not to systematically put decisions relating to disciplinary action in the public domain.
"Regarding board operation, CCC is appointed with the responsibility of running all competitions and all that goes with that. They are represented on the management committee and report monthly to both management and the county committee so their policies are approved."
Nobody is querying how the Cavan system works, but here's the real question: why is it strict policy not to issue the findings of disciplinary hearings? Surely the rights of a player who has committed an offence which requires a suspension do not extend to guaranteed privacy by those who hear the cases and by the wider County Board.
One would have thought that publishing details of suspensions would, in itself, be a deterrent. Besides, if Croke Park are prepared to issues details of disciplinary action at central level, why should a County Board be so secretive?