The Mayor of South Dublin, Cllr Fintan Warfield, has expressed his deep disappointment at the decision of the GAA to prevent an openly LGBT Referee from wearing a Rainbow Wristband as a statement of inclusion and against homophobia in sport.

Mayor Warfield stated: “I was surprised and disappointed to learn of the GAA’s refusal to allow referee David Gough wear a Rainbow wristband at the recent Dublin vs Tyrone match, on the grounds that political statements are not allowed and that the issue is tied to the upcoming referendum on marriage equality.

“We need to be clear – the Rainbow symbol is a statement of inclusion and opposition to homophobia. Every organisation should be proactively endorsing such a message and indeed we have seen this in other sporting organisations.

It is therefore misleading and wrong to conflate very necessary and ongoing efforts to eradicate homophobia from the GAA with the current referendum campaign. It would be a source of deep concern to me and many others in the LGBT community, not least those of us active in the GAA, if the referendum was used as an excuse to prevent noble efforts to highlight the importance of LGBT equality and participation in sport. The two are entirely separate matters.

“We know that homophobia remains a major problem. The number of openly LGBT players, in comparison to our numbers in the population generally, speaks for itself and any attempt to send out an inclusive message from the organisation should be strongly endorsed, not censored.

Mayor Warfield concluded: “I have to agree with the sentiments of Referee David Gough, who feels the GAA have let down their LGBT members with this decision.

Making clear that the GAA supports its LGBT fans and players alike, which the Rainbow Wristband is designed to do, is simply a matter of best practice, not a political statement that contravenes existing rules.”