Belfast Telegraph

Banning orders may be extended

Football banning orders could be extended to the GAA and rugby if the sporting codes request it, the Justice Minister has said.

The new power to allow a court to ban individuals from matches came into force on January 1, but only applies to soccer.

But David Ford said it could be extended to Gaelic games and rugby if the governing bodies of the sports asked for the change.

"Football banning orders provides the police and the courts with the power to stop someone whose actions have resulted in violence going to or from a match from attending another game in Northern Ireland for up to ten years," said the Justice Minister.

"They should be seen as part of a package of measures we have put in place to make sporting events safer for spectators and more family friendly.

"We have already commenced legislation preventing the possession of alcohol on special transport going to football grounds. This also applies to GAA, and rugby as well.

"It sits alongside powers prohibiting supporters from pitch invasion, missile throwing and offensive chanting. We recently had our first successful prosecution for pitch incursion in Northern Ireland. The legislation was developed in co-operation and partnership with the football authorities and they have welcomed its introduction."

The minister said he had yet to be approached by any other sports, but said he would consider extending the banning orders to other sporting codes if there is a demand.

"If the sporting authorities from GAA or rugby request the extension of banning orders to their sport, this is something I will consider."


From Belfast Telegraph