Friday 23 February 2018

GAA chief Liam O’Neill vows to ‘totally cut out’ abuse as Ulster launch racism probe

Crossmaglen's Aaron Cunningham
Crossmaglen's Aaron Cunningham
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

GAA president Liam O'Neill has reiterated his conviction to stamp out all forms of abuse in the wake of an alleged racial tirade directed at Crossmaglen's Aaron Cunningham.

O'Neill has said the GAA at central level will bring forward their own motions to tackle all abuse to Congress next March.

Sarsfields, the Wexford club that Lee Chin plays for, are already framing a motion to go to their county convention in two weeks' time which would see racial abuse become a red-card offence. At the moment it only warrants a yellow card under general 'verbal abuse'.

O'Neill has spoken strongly on the need to tackle abuse and says action to outlaw it on a wider scale is under way.

"We will do it calmly and we will talk to the players and to our own officials and we will come up with a motion to outlaw all forms of abuse by next Congress. We condemn any form of abuse," he said.

"I said that I wanted the debate widened, that I didn't want it just limited to one form of abuse. I want it cut out totally.

"This is a tiny minority – the vast majority of Irish people conduct their daily lives without abusing one another, and it's similar in Gaelic games."

Cunningham (left) revealed yesterday that there was a racial comment directed at him in the first half, which he ignored, and in the second half when he highlighted it to linesman Barry Cassidy.

"There were a couple of incidents and one was in the first half," he said.

The Ulster Council will address the issue at a meeting tonight with their investigation into Cunningham's claims already under way. It is understood, however, that neither Joe McQuillan nor his officials heard the comments that were alleged to have been made in Sunday's Crossmaglen-Kilcoo clash.

Cunningham's father Joey, a former Armagh player who was the victim of racial abuse in the 1980s, claimed yesterday that people told him his son had also been the target of racial taunts from the terrace.

Irish Independent

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