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Friday 20 September 2019

GAA to publish its child welfare findings

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Fiona Dillon

Fiona Dillon

The GAA will publish the results of its national child welfare audit next month, which reviewed current child welfare practices in its clubs.

A total of 1,370 GAA clubs took part in the audit across the island of Ireland and the results will be published on November 11.

The audit will be published on the back of sentencing of Tom Humphries for defilement of a child that he identified through his volunteer coaching of GAA teams.

The GAA said that good practice is promoted and developed at grassroots level by Childrens' Officers within the association, and the audit will show that 1,363 clubs at this point have appointed one. This means just seven clubs are yet to appoint an officer.

The audit will also show that there are 34,000 adults are working with children in coaching and mentoring roles, and 31,300 had commenced vetting by the time the audit took place. The remainder will all have been vetted by the end of December in line with legislation.

Gearóid ÓMaoilmhichíl, the GAA Child Welfare and Safeguarding Manager, told the Irish Independent that: "The GAA will this year vet more than 20,000 coaches and provide a similar number with child safeguarding training."


There are three mandatory requirements for anybody in a coaching role with the GAA, as set down by the body. They must do child safeguarding training - a three-hour approved course. There are 100 tutors nationwide. In addition, they undergo vetting, and those involved in coaching must have a qualification, he said.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) said that its current guide - the Child Welfare Policy document - "is being updated and is due to be published by year's end."

A garda spokesperson told the Irish Independent that: "The turnaround time for vetting applications submitted by organisations utilising the eVetting (electonic vetting) system is five working days for 80pc of applications received. At this time, 99pc of vetting applications received are via the eVetting system.

"In approximately 20pc of vetting applications received, it is necessary to conduct enquiries with external Garda stations and agencies such as the Courts Service, Probation Service, Child and Family Agency, etc."

Irish Independent

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