Tuesday 12 December 2017

'Only zero tolerance can stop ref abuse'

Colm Keys

Colm Keys

An Ulster GAA official has questioned whether the association's rule book carries a deterrent sufficient enough to deal with abuse of referees any more.

Antrim secretary Frankie Quinn, whose county board's Competitions Control Committee (CCC) dished out life bans to members of a club involved in physical altercations with a referee after an U-21 hurling match recently, made his comments in his annual report to convention.

Quinn posed the question as to whether penalties for offenders actually go far enough.

"The Antrim CCC has dealt decisively with all cases of referee abuse brought before them, but, given the level of sanctions imposed on offenders, I ask myself are we approaching a situation whereby we will no longer have a deterrent sufficiently strong enough to deter offenders?" he said.

"The only long-term solution to this problem is a 'zero tolerance' approach allied with a 'no hiding place' attitude from club officers. Clubs cannot and should not ever attempt to defend any member found guilty of abusing referees."

Meanwhile, Tyrone PRO Damien Harvey stated in the Tyrone convention report that Mickey Harte has not received any direct apology from the persons to whom his widely publicised letter to RTE was addressed.

Harte wrote the letter to RTE seeking a meeting to air concern over Brian Carthy's status as a commentator within the station and has since withdrawn co-operation from the station. Harvey touched on the issue in the report, saying: "We are all aware of how people within RTE added insult to injury by portraying the issue in comedy form so soon after the Harte family's tragic loss.

"It is also important to state for the record that there is no Tyrone County Committee-endorsed communication ban imposed upon RTE.

"It is my opinion that the decision of the football manager not to communicate with RTE remains the prerogative of the management team until those responsible for the issue have the decency to speak directly to Mickey Harte."


Tyrone secretary Dominic McCaughey took aim at the Northern Ireland government over the lack of funding for their Garvaghy GAA headquarters project, describing the situation as unfair and unreasonable.

"We are aware of significant funding being (made) readily available to projects, including Railway Preservation, the Grand Opera House, and the purchase and refurbishment of a boat used to ferry passengers to the Titanic in 1912, yet there cannot be any funding of the GAA's heritage and culture in Tyrone.

"Also, it is very difficult to see where in Northern Ireland there are over 30 other sports projects that could be rated more highly by Sport NI, this year, than that of Tyrone GAA's.

"Clearly there is an inability or an unwillingness on the part of government and government bodies to provide partial funding to this first capital project initiated by Tyrone GAA, in attempting to establish its own sporting, cultural and administrative headquarters. We are not asking for special treatment for Tyrone GAA, but simply fair consideration."

In Down, secretary Sean Og McAteer has accused sections of the media of hysteria when it comes to reporting on falling attendances in the GAA.

McAteer writes about the apparent obsession people have that GAA attendances are falling and how it attempts to portray that the association is in decline.

He is adamant that attendances at GAA games across the board still far outstrip any other domestic sporting events, but that this point is all too easily forgotten.

"During the summer, RTE and the printed media wanted to constantly tell us that attendances at GAA games were down," he said. "It was as if the whole world of the GAA was about to collapse. The reality is different. There were more people at one GAA championship game during the summer than were present at the combined attendances for a complete series of Irish League or League of Ireland games.

"There are still more people attending GAA county games than there are attending any other sporting events within Ireland, yet we let our detractors take up the mantle unchallenged that our attendances are in decline!"

Irish Independent

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