TD and former Mayo footballer Alan Dillon has accused GAA pundit and former All-Ireland winner Joe Brolly of “coming full circle” in his stance on indiscipline in the organization.
r Dillon said he supported Roscommon’s GAA referees’ strike last weekend, arguing that “similar action” should be taken if the “ugly side of the sport is not addressed”.
Roscommon referees called off their weekend strike after an alleged attack at a Roscommon U17 game last week that left an officer hospitalized.
The former Mayo captain, who is also a member of Oireachtas’ sporting committee, said: “It’s about time people accepted that there is a serious problem here and not blamed it on an isolated case.
“Last November I called on all sports organizations to account for their experiences of abuse and threatening behavior towards referees, officials and players after underage football matches in Dublin were canceled due to referees resigning. At a subsequent committee hearing, we heard what happened on and off the fields for several sports federations across this country.
“I reiterate today what I said in committee on December 1 last year: ‘I recognize the tremendous contribution made by our match officials. We may not always agree with them, but they deserve the utmost respect in carrying out their duties.”
“A few days after making these comments, I found myself in the sharp crosshairs of Joe Brolly’s pen asking why I single out the GAA when it comes to referees and officials being abused and attacked.
The Indo Daily – Joe Brolly: In the GAA, we treat umpires like shit. It’s a toxic culture that needs to change
“In his weekly column, Mr. Brolly said I ‘can’t go to many GAA games’ and wrote ‘evidence and politicians don’t mix’.
“Well Joe, I’ve attended many games as a player, supporter, parent and proud GAA member. On rare occasions, unfortunately now and then, I witness or hear reports from referees and officials being abused and threatened by players, team officials and fans.
“I stress it’s in the minority, but it’s a problem the GAA needs to address in order to eradicate it completely.”
“In terms of evidence, well what happened at Roscommon is not an isolated case, as the reports of other referees attest. We saw another high profile incident during a semi-final at Connacht Club last January when the referee detailed in Jerome Henry’s official report on the incident the verbal and physical abuse he and his colleagues suffered as a result. Intimidation, abuse and targeting of officials taint our GAA games.
“Joe was a decent footballer but sometimes, and I know this well, strikers can have a day off and miss the goalposts by a country mile.
“Unfortunately, events since have shown that Joe was so far off the mark in response to my initial comments on the matter that he has now come full circle to say last Sunday, ‘In the GAA we treat umpires like shit.’
“Glad to read of Joe’s conversion on this serious matter and highlighting this dark side of our games. It is only by raising the spotlight on these issues from such high-profile figures that we can succeed.”
While emphasizing the good side of the GAA in his Sunday independent In a December 4 column, Joe Brolly wrote: “Why Dillon chose to drag the GAA into it isn’t entirely clear. He doesn’t get to go to many GAA games.” He added, “It was indeed disappointing to hear Dillon say what he did. David Gough asked the TD to provide evidence. Evidence and politicians don’t mix.”
However, writing after the Roscommon incident, Mr Brolly’s most recent column last Sunday, September 4, called for sweeping reforms in the GAA to protect referees and punish those who would abuse them.
“The GAA must create a draconian set of rules prohibiting any criticism of the officers, any form of protest and any physical contact,” he wrote.
“I propose that if a player criticizes a decision or protests to a referee, he is immediately given a red card and a minimum 8-week ban. For a mentor, a red card and a minimum 16-week ban. There should be intentional physical contact come.” Red card and a player banned for at least 12 months Life ban for a mentor Similar rules should apply to spectators.
“Referees are the lifeblood of our community and each of them should be respected and protected by all of us. This will finally force the GAA to take real action.”
https://www.independent.ie/news/former-footballer-and-mayo-td-alan-dillon-accuses-joe-brolly-of-going-full-circle-on-gaa-indiscipline-41966458.html Former footballer and Mayo TD Alan Dillon accuses Joe Brolly of “coming full circle” on the GAA discipline.