The launch of the Cork County Board critical incident plan reinforces the GAA’s presence within the community, according to children’s officer Noel O’Callaghan.

The plan is to serve as a guide to clubs who are affected by the loss of a member through suicide.

O’Callaghan says it is imperative the GAA does its bit to assist a community left grief-stricken by a sudden bereavement.

“This initiative, handed down by Croke Park, shows how we are becoming more aware of incidences of suicide happening in clubs throughout the country,” he said.

“There were issues that people in clubs felt the GAA were not addressing. There has been a lot of suicides affecting clubs up and down the country over the last few years.

“None of us is qualified to deal with such an issue, but this plan is a signpost to clubs in need that there are services out there if the incident does arise.”

He added: “It is important the GAA doesn’t lose its place within the community and this plan is reinforcing the GAA’s place in the community.

“In rural Ireland, when something happens within a town or a village, there is, more often than not, a connection to the GAA.

“What the GAA is saying is that whatever happens, we are willing to help and to show people where they can get help.”

Last night’s critical incident plan launch also saw the unveiling of Cork GAA’s new partnership with Tabor Lodge.

“Tabor Group provide addiction counselling for gambling, alcohol and substance abuse. That is very prevalent in the GAA at present,” continued O’Callaghan.

“Gambling is one of the biggest problems within the GAA at present. It is an issue we need to continue to tackle. Tabor Group are coming on board as a partner and are willing to train people within clubs to pick up on the signs of addiction.”

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