An umpire accused of making racist comments during a Wexford GAA match has been handed a 26-week ban.
The St Joseph’s club in Wexford town wrote to the county board seeking an investigation into alleged racist abuse of their player, Eddie Lawlor, by an umpire during a county junior football game.
County chairman Diarmuid Devereux said the allegations were fully investigated by the Wexford Central Competitions Control Committee (CCCC) and added that the umpire involved had already resigned from all activities in the association in the county.
The findings follow a similar investigation into racist comments made to Wexford senior football and hurling star Lee Chin.
Chin, who plays senior football with Wexford town club Sarsfields, was racially abused and referee Brendan Martin carried the matter in his report. Two Duffry Rovers players were each banned for two months.
“The first incident was new to me, but the second incident rocked me,” said Devereux.
“We are tarnished, shamed and embarrassed that this would go on in our association.
“If another incident comes before me the book will be thrown at the club.
“All I can do is commit to using everything within our powers to deal with such incidents.
“I apologise unreservedly on behalf of Wexford GAA to the players and their families, on behalf of the county board and officers.
“I say once again, that kind of behaviour will not be tolerated under any circumstances.
“I want that message to go out to the players and the clubs of the county.”
The chairman said the GAA in Wexford was and would continue to be open and inclusive.
He said the CCCC findings into the St Joseph’s request supported his stance that incidents of racist abuse will not be tolerated.
Lawlor also revealed he has been the victim of racist comments about the colour of his skin for many years.
“I have been used to this my whole life,” said 32-year-old Lawlor, who is happy that the issue has been highlighted.
“I’m going through this my whole life. I just put up with it and said to myself that they’re ignorant people but it’s wrong for youngsters.
“I have two younger brothers and I don’t want them to have to put up with it,” he said.
“I think it’s wrong for youngsters to have to put up with it.
“When I was younger I didn’t understand it when people made comments.
“At the time I was the only coloured fella in the town.
“As I got older, I just tried to ignore it.”
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