" A slip of the tongue "
A Gaelic football umpire has been handed a 26-week suspension in the second racist abuse storm to rock Wexford GAA in recent weeks.
Alex Ryan (73), from the Oylegate-Glenbrien club in the county, who has officiated at games for 38 years, last night said he had resigned from the GAA as a result of the investigation into the comments.
St Joseph's Club in Wexford town had written to the Wexford GAA Board seeking a full investigation into alleged racist abuse of their player, Eddie Lawlor (32), by the umpire during a county junior football game.
Wexford County Chairman Diarmuid Devereux said the claims were investigated by the Wexford Central Competitions Control Committee and a 26-week suspension was imposed.
Mr Devereux said any type of racist behaviour would not be tolerated.
Mr Lawlor, who played junior football for Wexford this year, revealed he has been the victim of racist comments about the colour of his skin for many years
. "I have been used to this my whole life," he said, adding he was happy the issue was being highlighted for players following in his footsteps. "I have two younger brothers and I don't want them to have to put up with it," he said.
Umpire Mr Ryan said on the evening it had been "just a slip of the tongue. I did not mean any offence." He said he would not appeal the suspension.
Earlier this summer, Wexford GAA suspended two Duffry Rovers players for racial abuse of Wexford inter-county footballer and hurler Lee Chin during a match.
Terrible stuff in fairness like.