Ulster Council Advice

Ulster Council: Safeguarding in the GAA

THE GAA relies heavily on the time and commitment freely given by our volunteers and without this the opportunities for children and young people to participate in sport may not exist.

In order to make these opportunities a positive experience for all concerned, it is vital that all those taking responsibility for young people in the Association are appropriately vetted and adequately trained for the role and that all clubs are compliant with both legal and best practice safeguarding requirements placed on them as providers of services through sport to children and young people.

In order to comply with legislation in all counties and the rules of the Association, all persons working with children or young people in a voluntary or paid capacity  must be vetted prior to commencing their role. Those who are involved in the management of individuals appointed to work with children or young people in your club must also be vetted.

Vetting is carried out by AccessNI or the Garda vetting unit as appropriate, where they return criminal history information on the applicant.

This enables Ulster GAA to make more informed recruitment decisions in relation to the suitability of the applicant for the role. Ulster GAA process applications for vetting checks free of charge, for our volunteers at a club’s request. We remind all clubs that they should not permit anyone to work with their children or young people in the club until they have been suitably vetted and approved for their role.

Maintaining Appropriate Levels of Behaviour in our Work with Children and Young People:
Outlines the minimum appropriate levels of behaviour, practice and conduct required from our young players, coaches, supporters, parents/guardians, referees, officials and clubs. Clubs should ensure that all members have signed up for the 2021 season.

Safeguarding 1 – Children and Young People in Sport: This three-hour workshop should be completed every three years by those working with your children and young people in your club and is an essential requirement prior to commencement of position.
Note that due to Covid-19 restrictions these workshops are currently being delivered virtually, therefore if your club needs to access a course please get in touch.

Safeguarding 1 – Refresher Training: Those who have completed the face-to-face safeguarding one  workshop within the last three years and are now due for renewal can complete a new online safeguarding one refresher training programme by following this link:

Note that due to Covid-19 restrictions the dates have been relaxed – anyone who has completed a face-to-face workshop from 2015 can renew online up until June 30, 2021.

Code of Behaviour (Underage): The Joint Code of Best Practice in Youth Sport for the GAA brings together the collective good practice experiences of our Associations while also recognising the legislative, organisational and statutory guidance that governs our work with young people and children. The code will assist us in supporting and directing our members and all units of our Associations in our work with underage teams in a coordinated and developmental manner.

Our underage players will spend some of the most enjoyable days of their lives playing our games and socialising with their friends through GAA activities. Whether attending or playing GAA matches, playing Ladies football or Camogie, or participating in Rounders, Handball of GAA for All activities, they will do so during some of the most important developmental years of their lives.

Our role and our responsibility is to ensure that they benefit from and participate in our Gaelic games in a safe and enjoyable environment and where our Games are conducted in a spirit of fair play and where everyone working on our behalf emphasises respect, equality, safety and non-discrimination in all aspects of our work with children and young people.

In following this code, your club should be able to create and maintain the safest possible environment in which your children can play and participate in Gaelic games and activities and wherein the retention of your players and volunteers is at an all-time high.

For more information on Safeguarding in your club please contact

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