The GAA has became the country’s first sporting organisation to launch a national anti-bullying campaign with the unveiling of the GAA Tackling Bullying Programme.
Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Leo Varadkar joined GAA President Liam O’Neill to unveil the programme which will be rolled out throughout the Association in 2013.
GAA Tackling Bullying is a new training resource that the GAA developed in response to a growing awareness of the impact of bullying in society and particularly in sport.
The programme consists of a two-hour training workshop suitable for coaches, parents, players and other club personnel and also includes a range of publicity materials for clubs.
The drafting and piloting phase of this programme has taken more than a year with 10 pilot workshops and a number of consultation meetings with underage players, parents and coaches.
The two-hour programme may be run in tandem and complimentary to any other educational and or community anti-bullying initiatives and is suitable for delivery at both adult and under age levels.
The GAA will upskill and train 50 of their Child Welfare Tutors to equip them to deliver the workshops at Club level in 2013.
In recognition of the serious difficulties that bullying presents in sports organisations this resource will be presented by the GAA to the Irish Sports Council so as to enable them facilitate other sports organisations who may wish to see the programme delivered in their own sports organisations.
Minister Varadkar commended the GAA for developing this programme to address and prevent bullying.
“With a presence in local communities around the country, the GAA is very well placed to develop awareness and influence young people within the GAA and in the wider community,” he said. “This programme is an excellent example of how sport can make a significant contribution to social issues.”
President Liam O’Neill welcomed the roll out of the initiative.
He said: “This is the latest project we have undertaken as an organisation that is related directly to the health, safety and well being of our players – and particularly those at underage level.
“Our Code of Best Practice in Youth Sport, our Code of Behaviour for those working with underage players and our commitment to Garda Vetting are examples to adherence to best practice in the creation of a safe environment for
the promotion of our games for all.”