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Gambling not major issue: GAA President Aogan O'Fearghail

By Declan Bogue

GAA President Aogan O'Fearghail has disputed the claims of Dessie Farrell, the CEO of the Gaelic Player's Association, who said gambling has become a real problem among inter-county footballers and hurlers.

While admitting that he hadn't read Farrell's comments, which ran in Saturday's Belfast Telegraph, O'Fearghail said: "It isn't the major issue that I hear about. I know a lot of club and inter-county players. They have a lot of issues. I don't see that as the major one personally.

"I'm not dismissing it, if it's an issue, it's an issue and it's a very serious issue. But it's not something I am very aware of and it's not something that I'm picking up on.

"If Dessie, who is at the coalface of that, is finding that it is an issue we'd support him and be anxious to hear about what exactly is the situation.

"But at the moment I don't have that. I'm simply saying that in my travels I don't see it as the number one issue but if it's an issue it has to be addressed."

O'Fearghail also addressed concerns in London after the Granuaile hurling club put forward a motion to the London county committee to rescind the decision to approve affiliation of the Irish Guards as a club in the county.

"It was brought to our attention and Páraic (Duffy, Director General) and I have had discussions on it and Páraic has written to the London GAA board and asked them not to make a decision on that until we as a management have had a look at it," he said.

"It's nothing to do with one club, it's all clubs. We've close to 2,000 clubs, if we accept a club into our association, having done that, then it shouldn't be so simple to remove them.

"It should not be that simple, that's a policy type issue."

He added that the intervention of the GAA's top brass could end it as an issue. He stated: "Once the Ard Stiúrthóir advises a county board to do something, yes they will comply absolutely so that won't be discussed, as I would see it."

Belfast Telegraph

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