Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Children and Youth Affairs

Tackling Childhood Obesity: Discussion (Resumed)

9:30 am

Mr. Colin Regan:

We do. I would actually go a little bit further and say that it is a big issue. We introduced the respect initiative in 2009. It outlines the behaviour that is expected on the sidelines in GAA grounds. It has not had the impact we would have hoped that it would have had at this stage. We launched our new strategic plan on Friday which covers 2018 to 2020. It has explicitly called for a rigid implementation of the respect initiative right across the association. Initially it specifically targeted juvenile games. I know I keep returning to the healthy club project. It is great to have a national code but an implementation arm is needed beyond even our traditional network of clubs. We need clubs themselves to show leadership and to say that this is not acceptable within the club. When the 150 clubs signed up at the provincial orientation days last month, they received a welcome pack which included pitchside signage outlining what kind of behaviour is accepted there. At the moment the implementation committee for the new strategic plan is exploring how each of the actions are going to be distributed across the association. I can assure the Chairman that the respect initiative will be getting the kind of support it needs to address that very important issue. The healthy club project has provided an unexpected and very welcome development in that it has opened the door for female leadership within the association. Some 50% of healthy club officers are female and 50% of the members of our national health and well-being committee are female. The Chairman is exactly right. We see that positive influence shining a light on these areas which the more male-dominated attitudes may, perhaps, have overlooked somewhat in previous years.