GAA referee attack - Thuggery must be rooted out

IT is absolutely outrageous that a plain-clothes detective was repeatedly kicked in the head as he lay unconscious after being battered by thugs when he tried to defend a referee from being attacked by so called Gaelic football fans.

There can be no excuse for the kind of disgraceful behaviour that went on after a match between two minor club teams in Co Sligo.

Right-thinking people will welcome the fact that the matter is being investigated by the gardaí and the GAA.

Hopefully, there will be criminal prosecutions but that is not good enough.

It is imperative the GAA and the clubs involved should go much further if this kind of thuggery is to be rooted out, as indeed it must be in both the public interest and the interest of sport.

The fact that this was not an isolated incident, though it was at the grave end of criminality, probably explains why the GAA has come in for severe public criticism on this occasion.

Generally speaking, it has to be said that the organisation has a positive influence on Irish life, especially at parish level from one end of the country to the other.

It is usually unquestionably a force for good. But that does gainsay the fact that there is a perception of ambivalence towards violence on the field and on the sideline, something which never happens in rugby.

Nothing short of a lifetime ban should be served on the culprits of this savage and inexcusable attack.


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