Ulster Council Advice

ULSTER GAA: Safeguarding children and young people in the Association

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.

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 or 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.

The GAA Code of Behaviour (underage) guides us in our work with children and young people in our Associations, and 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.

The recruitment and selection guidelines contained in the code assist clubs in ensuring they select and appoint suitable persons to work with our children and young people, and in so doing that they are appropriately vetted and trained relevant to their role in the club.

The important areas to draw your attention to are:

1) Access NI/Garda vetting

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 Access NI 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, and 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.

2) Maintaining appropriate levels of behaviour in our work with children and young people

This outlines the minimum appropriate levels of behaviour, practice and conduct required from our young players, coaches, supporters, parents/guardians, referees, officials and club. It is also vital that where unacceptable behaviour arises that it is appropriately challenged to ensure it does not become acceptable and the norm.

3) 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.

4) Safeguarding 1 – refresher training

Those who have completed the face to face safeguarding 1 workshop within the last three years and are now due for renewal can complete an online safeguarding 1 refresher training programme by following this link:

5) GAA coaching award

Please ensure that your coaches and managers have achieved a relevant GAA coaching award prior to commencement of position.

All clubs can view each members qualifications and vetting information on Foireann ( and we remind all clubs to ensure that they cross check these records and ensure all those who will be appointed in 2024 are up to date with the above as required.

For more information on safeguarding in your club, please see or contact

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