Racism must have no place in GAA

THE GAA HAS revealed that it is looking into an incident at the Ulster club SFC final in which a player was allegedly the victim of racial abuse. Crossmaglen forward Aaron Cunningham claimed after the match that he had been subjected to racial abuse about his father, who is a black former inter-county player, from members of the Kilcoo panel. Kilcoo have responded to the claims.“Kilcoo GAC is an all inclusive club which prides itself in appealing to all sections of our community, and is shocked and saddened to hear of any allegations ofracial abuse following the Ulster Club Final,” their statement read. “We as a club condemn abuse from whatever quarter and shall co-operate fully with anyinvestigation instigated by Ulster Council.”This follows separate incidents last month in Cavan and during the Summer in Wexford.  Last month Cavan GAA club Cootehill Celtics claimed one of its players was racially  abused at a game, with the allegation discussed at a meeting of the county’s Competitions Control Committee (CCC).To date county boards have been without specific guidance as to the appropriate sporting sanction for incidents of racism.  Earlier this year, two Wexford club players were suspended for two months each for racist remarks made to inter-county star Lee Chin, who was playing for Sarsfields in a Senior Football Championship match. The remarks  were raised in the report of referee Brendan Martin and subsequently actedupon. Chin later testified that he had brought the matter to the attention ofthe referee after he himself had been yellow carded.”It’s becoming more of an issue for me, and it’s not just me having to put up withthis. There are younger people of mixed races coming up against this too. Someof them may just listen to some of the things being said to them and think, ‘Isit worth this at all? I’m not going to bother’,” Chin said at the time.Make Racism a Red Card offenceFollowing a separate incident in Wexford, an umpire was suspended for 26 weeks whenracist comments  were directed at St Joseph’s player Eddie Lawlor.  These incidentsprompted moves by Wexford County Board to propose a motion at their GAA congress on 17th December. Wexford County Board will table a motion at next year’sGAA Annual Congress seeking to make racial abuse a red card offence.Co-ordinatorfor Show Racism the Red Card, Garrett Mullan said: ‘ It is now clearly an issuefor the GAA and a programme including rule changes and education is needed.Intercounty and top club players such as Eddie Lawlor, Lee Chin and AaronCunningham are role models for young people in how to respond to racism.We fully support Wexford GAA who are to table a motion at their AGM in regard tomaking racism a red card offence at their congress later this month. It is upto all involved in the game including supporters, players and administrators torecognise what is racism and how to respond to it. There can be no place for racism in the GAA and no place for racism in Irish society’.
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