MILFORD GAA club have recently undertaken an initiative as part of their Healthy Clubs programme which saw the launch of a ‘Smoke Free Policy’ on their grounds.
This means that from now on, there will be no smoking, including electronic devices, anywhere CLG Baile Na nGalloglach grounds.
Speaking at the launch Kevin Mills, Donegal GAA Health and Wellbeing Officer said: “We want to set a positive example for all our members and de-normalise any association between the GAA and tobacco usage. We want to protect our members, visitors and volunteers from the dangers of tobacco and second hand smoke exposure and reduce the initiation of smoking amongst young people in particular”.
Fiona Boyle, the local HSE Smoking Cessation Officer in Donegal, who is supporting this initiative, added: “It is inspiring to see Healthy Clubs leading the way and supporting the government’s ambitious target of making Ireland tobacco-free by 2025 and supporting Healthy Ireland”.
She said it sends a powerful message to all the children in the GAA grounds that smoking is very harmful and also provides GAA fans the opportunity to enjoy supporting their team in a healthier environment.
“We know that children are hugely influenced by what they see and hear. We know that adults around them are powerful role models for negative and positive health behaviours. Now through the Healthy Club Project, officers, coaches, and adult club members are setting an example for the younger generation of GAA players and fans by not smoking at the sidelines during training and at matches. The Healthy Club Project is a great example of one of our key sporting organisations working in partnership with the health sector to help people achieve these positive changes”.
Ms Boyle also distributed resources and cessation aids at the launch and sign-posted members of the club to the 13 local, FREE smoking cessation clinics at community locations throughout Donegal.
Mr Frankie Doherty, Vice Chairperson Donegal GAA County Board, also attended the event to show support for this very important initiative and added that he quit smoking 10 years ago. He encouraged others to consider doing the same and commented that if he can do it anyone can.
“The GAA is the heart beat of every community in Ireland and this type of initiative will not only raise awareness but also protect people from second-hand smoke, reduce smoking initiation rates among young people and increase the amount of people seeking help to quit.”
Pat Curley, Chairperson Milford GAA Club, said: “The benefits to Milford GAA Club itself will include setting a positive example, potential coverage in local media, reducing the impact of tobacco and second hand smoke on sports performance, protecting children and young people from tobacco and cleaner and safer GAA club grounds.”
The government has announced that Ireland will be completely smoke-free by 2025 which means less than 5 per cent of the population will use tobacco and GAA clubs are becoming leaders by setting a positive example for all their members.
Many of their leading ‘Healthy Clubs’ across Ireland have adopted this policy including St Mary’s GAA Club in Convoy, which was the first GAA Club in Ulster in November 2016 to do so. These clubs have received considerable media coverage and health sector praise.
For anyone interested in quitting tobacco you can contact Fiona Boyle on 0872514790 to receive information on any of the 13 free face-to-face clinics throughout Donegal. You can also contact QUIT.ie or freephone 1800 201 203 for free support. You have a greater chance of quitting when you get support and use treatments to help you quit.
If you are involved in another GAA club in Donegal and are interested in Smoke Free Grounds then why not give Fiona a call and she will support you with introducing this positive club initiative.
Posted: 2:56 pm May 2, 2019