“No place” in GAA for racism, Duffy says

Discipline and rules have a place but tackling racism about education, GAA chief says

At the launch of Show Racism the Red Card at Croke Park today were Padraic Duffy GAA director general with Greta Perevalovaite and Rafael Mamba of Blakestown Community School and Eoin Mc Cafferty of Show Racism the Red Card organisation. Photograph: Cyril Byrne / The Irish Times

At the launch of Show Racism the Red Card at Croke Park today were Padraic Duffy GAA director general with Greta Perevalovaite and Rafael Mamba of Blakestown Community School and Eoin Mc Cafferty of Show Racism the Red Card organisation. Photograph: Cyril Byrne / The Irish Times

Tue, Mar 19, 2013, 17:58

There was “no place” in the GAA for players or officials who engaged in racist activity, the organisation's director general Páraic Duffy said at Croke Park today.

“I firmly believe while discipline and rules have their place in tackling the issue, ultimately it has to be about education,” Mr Duffy said.

He was speaking as a new education pack for young people aimed at tackling racism in schools and sports organisations was released by charity Show Racism the Red Card.

There have been some racists allegations on and off the GAA pitch in recent weeks with calls from the Gaelic Players’ Association to make it a red-card offence.

A motion going before the GAA congress this weekend aims to strengthen the organisation's existing anti-racism rule, Mr Duffy said today.

Racism was “unfortunately” an issue in the GAA but the organisation had acknowleged this, Dublin gaelic football player Barry Cahill said.

However with players like Wexford dual athlete Lee Chin speaking up about racism it could only be a “positive” that the issue that would be addressed and sanctions would be put in place, he said.

As an intercounty player there was a responsibility to “lead by example” and anti-racism was something that had really “taken legs” in the last few months, he said.

The charity worked with three of the State’s main sporting bodies, the GAA, the FAI and the IRFU to prepare the pack for schools.

Ireland international and Aston Villa footballer Ciaran Clarke told students gathered for the launch that reporting racism was the right thing to do, otherwise it would just keep happening.

Ireland international and Derby County footballer Jeff Hendrick explained how players were getting less tolerant of racism . “In some games when there is racism and fans are getting involved the platers are not happy with the fans and will say it needs to stop. It’s not only hurtful its running the game and doesn’t need to be there any more,” he said.

Show Racism the Red Card co-ordinator Garrett Mullan said community and voluntary organisations had become more active in tackling racism partly because of a lack of attention by Government.

He called for complacency of Government in tackling racism to be challenged.

Labour TD and charity board member Aodhan O’Riordan said there was “always more than can be done” he said. “Because there has not been a political organisation of the far-right maybe there has been complacency” he addded.

“The initiative was not just about trying to eliminate racism in sport but to use sport to eliminate racism in society,” Mr O’Riordan said .

The Racism the Red Card pack contains a DVD and handbook aimed at promoting respect for diversity and showing young people how to respond to racism.