The Gaelic Players Association have praised the “courage and fortitude” of former Fermanagh county hurler Darren Graham in “very difficult circumstances” and have condemned the sectarian abuse. The reaction, so far, from GAA officials is worth noting. The Belfast Telegraph editorial points to GAA President Nickey Brennan’s recent comments, in an interview in the Church of Ireland Gazette, that the organisation should reach out more to Protestants, and he has invited Darren Graham to attend a major championship match at Croke Park. But the comments from Ulster Secretary of the GAA, Danny Murphy, in this Irish Times report [subs req] suggest that the problem is being viewed as an isolated incident. Update The Irish Independent reports that “The [Fermanagh County] Board has its monthly meeting on Monday and it is believed the Darren Graham issue will be tabled as an emergency motion.”From the Irish Times
Ulster secretary of the GAA Danny Murphy insisted that the local organisation could not say or do anything until it received an official complaint.
“There has been no allegation yet, not that I am aware of,” Mr Murphy told The Irish Times last night.
Asked how the complaints procedure works, Mr Murphy explained that any issue of alleged sectarianism would be dealt with effectively at county level, but that this can only happen once an official complaint is lodged.
“It doesn’t have to go to Croke Park,” he said. “They [ the county authority] will take the complaint and apply the penalty. And it can be appealed if necessary.”
The Irish Times also has Darren Graham’s response to the invite from Nickey Brennan
The player responded to the invitation by saying the offer was a positive move, but only if the real problem was dealt with. “I would be pleased about that as long as they will recognise that the intimidation is going on for so long and that they are trying to get it out of the sport,” he said.
“As long as people know and they [ the GAA] are going to do something about it.
“If I was the stepping stone towards it I wouldn’t mind, if they are going to try and get help for people like myself and what we have been going through I welcome it.”
Update From Saturday’s Irish Independent report
Tomorrow his club, Lisnaskea Emmets, with whom he was playing a senior championship match last Sunday, are to lodge an official complaint concerning his treatment to the Fermanagh County Board.
The Board has its monthly meeting on Monday and it is believed the Darren Graham issue will be tabled as an emergency motion.
Last night, Mr Graham said the complaint will focus on three clubs in particular.
“It will be about what has been happening up the ranks and at senior level as well and no action has been taken,” said Mr Graham.