The code of behaviour -underage

THE ‘Code’ is a policy document developed and agreed by the Gaelic Athletic Association, the Camogie Association, the Ladies Gaelic Football Association, GAA Handball Ireland and the Rounders Council of Ireland to assist all units of the Associations to create and maintain an enjoyable and the safest possible environment in which our children and young people can participate in Gaelic games and activities.

In following and implementing the guidelines in the Code, we strive to achieve the highest possible standards in our work with children and young people and to ensure compliance with both legal and best practice requirements placed on us.

Within the Code is a booklet titled ‘Maintaining Good Practice and Behaviour in our Work with Children and Young People’ which addresses the minimum levels of behaviour, practice and conduct required from our young players, coaches, supporters, parents or guardians, referees and clubs and from those who work with them on our behalf.

This Code applies to all young players under 18 years of age, and those who assist them in the preparation and playing of our games, regardless of competition or age groups.

Clubs and county boards who are responsible for organising our games at local level are obliged to implement the Code of Behaviour in the preparation of their teams and players for all competitions and at all levels including club blitzes, inter-club games, county development squads and inter-county games.

We remind all clubs of the requirement to adhere to the appropriate recruitment and selection procedures outlined in the code when appointing those suitable to work with children and young people in the club. All coaches must have their GAA AccessNI and Garda Vetting as appropriate, Safeguarding 1 and relevant coaching award prior to commencement of position. All others working with children and young people in the club should also have their appropriate vetting and Safeguarding 1 completed. In line with GAA Vetting and Training Policies these must be renewed every three years.

Should a breach of the Code be alleged, or when people may refuse to adhere to the contents of the Code, certain actions may be deemed necessary and appropriate so as to protect the integrity of our work with children and young people and also to ensure that they receive the best possible care, attention and protection while participating in our games.

The Children’s Officer shall have a central role to play in promoting and implementing the code at club and county level and if called upon to assist in processing breaches of the Code as appropriate.

The Code was updated in December 2021 and is available from the safeguarding section of Ulster GAA website

It is recommended that there is a ‘sign up’ procedure, whereby young players, coaches, supporters, parents/guardians, referees and clubs agree to abide by the Code on an annual basis and a copy of the signed document should be retained by the club Children’s Officer.

We strongly urge that if this is something that you have not yet implemented in your club, that it is an area you address as soon as possible.

For further information please contact Bernie Fox, Safeguarding Manager, Ulster GAA (028/048) 37521900 or email

“Let us ensure that everyone working on our behalf emphasizes FAIR PLAY, RESPECT, EQUALITY, SAFETY, and NO DESCRIMINATION in all aspects of our work with children and young people.”

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