Hand on Heart campaign did not breach GAA election rules

“We have written to all units reminding them to exercise caution at this time around party political activities and requests of this nature,” confirmed a GAA spokesperson.

Hand on Heart campaign did not breach GAA election rules

The GAA have warned clubs and counties not to become involved in party political activities ahead of Saturday week’s general election.

The correspondence was not sent in response to any one particular incident and a similar note was issued before previous elections.

“We have written to all units reminding them to exercise caution at this time around party political activities and requests of this nature,” confirmed a GAA spokesperson.

Rule 1.11 of the GAA’s Official Guide, Part I states that “the Association shall be non-party political. Party political questions shall not be discussed at its meetings, and no committee, club, council or representative thereof shall take part, as such, in any party political movement. A penalty of up to 24 weeks suspension may be imposed for infringement.”

Before throw-in in UPMC Nowlan Park last Sunday, patrons were encouraged on the PA system to show support for the installation of a 24/7 cardiac unit in University Hospital Waterford by putting their hand on their heart during the national anthem.

Brian Cody, who has campaigned for the support at the hospital, and his players were among those who made the gesture.

The Kilkenny manager underwent scheduled heart surgery seven years ago.

The gesture was also made by the Tipperary management and players prior to their game against Limerick in Thurles on Saturday evening as well as Waterford manager Liam Cahill and his hurlers during Amhrán na bhFiann in Walsh Park a day later.

According to the Healthy Equality for the South-East Facebook page, Wexford will do the same before their televised clash with Clare in Chadwicks Wexford Park this Sunday.

A post on the page read: “Thank you to Tipperary, Kilkenny and Waterford for engaging Hand On Heart at the weekend matches. Wexford have deferred to home match next week. Our GAA stars are stating publicly our right to 24/7 and health parity in the south east — they need you to make it happen.”

Although it has become a major general election issue for candidates in the Waterford and Carlow/Kilkenny constituencies, the GAA clarified the stance taken by the counties did not breach the rulebook.

“This particular activity appears to be ongoing and is not wedded solely to the general election,” a statement read. “Waterford’s support of the campaign in question stretches back to January 2019. Our rules reference ‘party political’ and the actions last Sunday do not fall under this category.”

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