Following the decision of An Córas Eadrána, the Disputes Resolution Authority (DRA), on Thursday 9th Nov 2023 to quash the decisions of both the Central Appeals Committee (CAC) and the Provincial Council of Britain Hearings Committee (PCB HC), we wish to express our deep dissatisfaction with the process.
We feel aggrieved that in arriving at their decision, the DRA ignored the Rules contained in the Official Guide – T. O. 2023, which were at the heart of the matter. Best practice guidelines on procedures to be followed by Committees, with responsibility for the administration of Discipline in the Association, were not adhered to. What appears to have been an ad hoc decision communicated by a committee member, which had no validity in Rule, was allowed to stand.
Our view was confirmed when we noted that an urgent clarification and update to the GAA Disciplinary Handbook (9th Edition) * was published on Friday 10th of November, stating
In the event of an Appeal being upheld, the Appellate Committee decides:
- (i) to annul the Decision appealed against, and direct that no further action be taken by the Decision-Making Committee.
- OR (ii) to send the matter back to the Decision-Making Committee for re-hearing or re-processing, with or without recommendations as to procedure.
(NOTE: In the case of a Player who is suspended as defined in Rules 7.3(i), (1) or (2), or 7.3 (l) (1) or (2), the Player shall stand suspended pending the outcome of the re-hearing or the re-processing of the matter.)
- OR (iii) to substitute the Decision of the Decision-Making Committee with its own Decision.
It is clear to us that the DRA decision was erroneous, that the club in question has been handed a hollow victory and arguably our games, the London County Board and the Association are diminished as a result.
To avoid situations such as these arising in the future, the GAA should ensure that appropriate training is provided to all committee members on the importance of adherence to the Rules and best practice on the hearing of complaints. As a club, St Gabriels CLG feels vindicated in our original decision to submit our objection and to appeal the flawed London CCC decision.
We are grateful for the wide support we have received. We take the opportunity to thank our membership and players for their patience and understanding.
As this sorry episode concludes, we stand tall and move on.
Chairperson, St Gabriels Hurling Club, London
*The Disciplinary Handbook suggests best-practice guidelines which will help to ensure that the operation of the GAA Disciplinary Code is clear, workable, fair and efficient. The Handbook is intended to assist in the implementation of the Rules and is not a substitute, in any form, for the Rules contained in the Official Guide.