“a special meeting of chairmen and secretaries of all clubs in the county.. as soon as possible”

The Chairman of the Fermanagh County Board of the GAA, Peter Carty, has issued a statement on behalf of the Board in relation to the sectarian abuse reported by Darren Graham recently. One paragraph, in particular, caught my eye

Darren Graham has been and continues to be a skilful exponent of football and hurling; he has made incredible efforts to be part of our games and has taken deep pride in representing Lisnaskea Emmetts. We are deeply upset that Darren has had to outline details of sectarian abuse to the Co. Board. We are also concerned at inaccurate and unfair media coverage of this issue. No player, no sportsman, no person should have to put up with such treatment and as a Co. Board we unreservedly apologise to Darren for any type of abuse he may have suffered on whatever occasion. Clubs or individuals who mete out any kind of abuse, including sectarian abuse, to others will be severely punished and such people are not welcome within our organisation.

The Chairman’s statement in full

We in the GAA, and in Fermanagh Co. Board in particular, have always taken pride in being a non-sectarian and non-political organisation. We unreservedly condemn abuse of any sort whether it occurs on or off the pitch and will not tolerate sectarian abuse of any of our members. In Fermanagh we have been especially proud of the fact that over the years many of the Protestant faith have given of their best to our games and have worn their club jersey with intense pride and continue to do so.

Darren Graham has been and continues to be a skilful exponent of football and hurling; he has made incredible efforts to be part of our games and has taken deep pride in representing Lisnaskea Emmetts. We are deeply upset that Darren has had to outline details of sectarian abuse to the Co. Board. We are also concerned at inaccurate and unfair media coverage of this issue. No player, no sportsman, no person should have to put up with such treatment and as a Co. Board we unreservedly apologise to Darren for any type of abuse he may have suffered on whatever occasion. Clubs or individuals who mete out any kind of abuse, including sectarian abuse, to others will be severely punished and such people are not welcome within our organisation.

We would want to apologise to any player who gives of his time, his energy and his commitment and is then subject to totally inappropriate remarks or treatment. We, in Fermanagh, make a promise to all our hard-working players, and members in general, that sectarian abuse or abuse of any sort towards them will never be tolerated and such behaviour will be rooted out. Referees, players and clubs are now on full alert with regard to such behaviour and severe penalties will ensue. Young people like Darren Graham deserve the highest praise for the effort they make, the hard work they put in and the endurance they show. We in the Co. board are behind them all the way; they have our unconditional support.

We have spoken with Darren who says that he would like to get on with his playing career encouraged as he is by the promises given. We are at the moment working very closely with him as regards his case and he is reassured that he and all players will be supported, protected and looked after to the very best of our ability.

We in Fermanagh Co. board and in the GAA are totally non-sectarian; we are open to all and we will not allow sectarian abuse to gain the slightest toe-hold within our organisation. With this in mind a special meeting of chairmen and secretaries of all clubs in the county will be convened as soon as possible to be addressed by leading GAA officials, including former Uachtarán of the Association Jack Boothman.

Peter Carty

Chairman

Fermanagh Co. Board