The head of the GAA revealed today he hopes to give racism the red card by changing the organisation’s rule book.
President Nickey Brennan said sanctions must be imposed on members who engage in any kind of discrimination.
He plans to propose changing the wording of Rule 7 in an effort to demonstrate the association’s zero tolerance attitude to racism.
“We want to make this a completely non-racist area and reprimand members who do not comply with the rules through sanctions,” said Mr Brennan.
“It’s really about strengthening the whole issue of racism and making sure that we as an organisation are not condoning any element of racism by any members in any sort of way.”
The proposal involves changing Rule 7 from its current wording of a 'non-sectarian' association to 'anti-sectarian'.
The GAA strongly condemned the racial abuse of a 12-year-old Nigerian boy during a gaelic football match last July between his own club in Carlow and a neighbouring team.
“It’s one case too many as far as we’re concerned but we’re working on a policy of educating our own people about how to deal with such matters as it’s not something that we have experienced in the past,” Mr Brennan said.
“You can never say that such matters would never arise because it takes a very brave person to say that.
“But at the same time, we want to handle such matters appropriately and sensitively if they do arise.”
Mr Brennan said he did not anticipate major opposition to the proposal when it is put before 350 delegates at a congress meeting next April.
“I could see it being unanimously accepted but I don’t really see an issue with our members supporting the thrust of that,” he continued.
“Our organisation very much wants to play its part and changing this rule is one way to show we’re serious about racism.”
He was one of a number of speakers addressing the Immigrant Council of Ireland’s (ICI) seminar on the challenges of integration in the post-Celtic Tiger economy.
The association is already encouraging different nationalities to get involved through special coaching programmes and participation in gaelic games at schools level.
Parents are also being encouraged to get involved in volunteering and coaching at club level which in turn gives them the chance to get to know the community.