GAA to add to rule book on Racism

Below is a statement from the GAA in regard to the racist incident in Carlow.24 JULY 2008GAA Condemns RacismThe GAA nationally and its Carlow County Board has strongly and unequivocally condemned reports of a serious racist incident at an underage game in Carlow where a player of African origin was verbally abused by spectators. The Carlow County Board and its underage sector are currently having the matter fully investigated with a view to having the perpetrators severely sanctioned. The Board has already started this process.The GAA as a community based and cultural organization is totally opposed to racism in any form and is fully committed to sporting and cultural integration. In that context a Taskforce was established last January incorporating representatives of the GAA, Ladies Football and Camogie. They are currently working on the development of an integration project and are consulting widely with representative groups and the office of the Minister for Integration. The project initiatives will include practical work such as helping Clubs to run and organise “Welcome Nights”, the production of a DVD explaining the games and building relationships with various representative groups.An illustration of the GAA focus on the positive contribution that non Irish nationals are making to Gaelic Games is the spectacle of the many children of non Irish origin which play in the Mini Games in Croke Park at half time of major Championship games. This is arranged as a matter of policy. The GAA primary school educational resource “Céim ar Aghaidh” also concentrates on the interaction of children of non Irish origin in its games and activities.The GAA’s total rejection of racism and its proactivity in integration renders the reported incident in Carlow, albeit an isolated one, a huge disappointment. The Association offers its unreserved apologies to the victim, Teboga Sebala and his family and promises to continue to strive to ensure integration continues apace and that racism if and when it manifests itself is effectively and adequately dealt with.To that end the GAA proposes to present motions to its Annual Congress next April which will enshrine specific and binding anti racism rules in its official rule book.

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