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'Inadequate' rules on racial and sectarian abuse facing further change

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Cavan's Gearoid McKiernan is shown a red card by referee Sean Hurson for verbally abusing Monaghan's Drew Wylie. The Cavan man accepted a two-match ban and has conveyed a personal apology to Wylie. Photo: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE

Cavan's Gearoid McKiernan is shown a red card by referee Sean Hurson for verbally abusing Monaghan's Drew Wylie. The Cavan man accepted a two-match ban and has conveyed a personal apology to Wylie. Photo: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE

SPORTSFILE

Cavan's Gearoid McKiernan is shown a red card by referee Sean Hurson for verbally abusing Monaghan's Drew Wylie. The Cavan man accepted a two-match ban and has conveyed a personal apology to Wylie. Photo: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE

The GAA will move swiftly to harden the penalties for sectarian and racial abuse, with a frank admission that the current rule doesn't go far enough.

Cavan's Gearoid McKiernan has accepted a two-match ban after being charged for making comments of a sectarian nature to Monaghan's Drew Wylie last week.

McKiernan conveyed a personal apology to Wylie, which was accepted and the matter is now closed.

But the soft nature of the suspension has prompted an admission from the GAA that the rule that governs comments of a sectarian, racial, anti-inclusion/diversity nature, only brought into force at last year's Congress, needs to be urgently addressed.

GAA president Liam O'Neill outlined that a motion is to be brought to Congress seeking stiffer penalties.

The offence was upgraded to a red card at last year's Congress but now O'Neill has deemed the two-match ban in the same competition as "inadequate".

He also apologised to Wylie on behalf of the GAA.

"I'm delighted to get the opportunity to convey our regret to the player involved. It was beyond regrettable," he said.

"We regret it terribly. The organisation is upset about it, I'm upset about it and, on behalf of the organisation, I would just like to say we're very, very sorry it happened to him."

McKiernan's comment to Wylie warranted a red card from referee Sean Hurson in last week's McKenna Cup game in Kingspan Breffni Park.

"The rule at the moment is competition-specific and it's time-specific, and the rule as it is in the rule book was applied perfectly by Ulster Council," said O'Neill. "We now accept that it's not adequate."

O'Neill said he would also like to see players and supporters, found guilty of such abuse in future, undertake re-education programmes on dealing with people of different backgrounds.

Irish Independent