On Sunday 21st April 2019 CLG Baile Na nGalloglach, as part of their Healthy Clubs initiative, launched their Smoke Free Policy – there will be no smoking, including electronic devices, anywhere on the entire club 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 said *“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”. It sends a powerful message to all the children in the GAA grounds that smoking is hugely harmful. It also provides GAA fans the opportunity to enjoy supporting their team in a healthier environment … 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”. Fiona also distributed resources and cessation aids at the launch and sign posted members of the club to the local 13 FREE smoking cessation clinics throughout Donegal community.

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 and encouraged others to consider doing the same because 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 protects people from smoke, reduce smoking initiation rates among young people and increase the amount of people seeking help to quit. Many of their leading “Healthy Clubs” across Ireland have adopted this policy – in November 2016 Naomh Mhuire Conmhaigh was the first GAA Club in Ulster to do so. Any other GAA clubs interested in this initiative (or in quitting tobacco) can contact Fiona Boyle on 087 2514790 or Kevin at chair.hwc.donegal@gaa.ie.

From left to right, Fiona Boyle, HSE Smoking Cessation Advisor, Donegal Community, Kevin Mills, Chairperson Donegal Health and Wellbeing Committee and Milford Healthy Club Officer , young Milford GAA members and supporters, Frankie Doherty, Vice Chairperson Donegal GAA County Board launching the smoke free grounds initiative , Pat Curley, Chairperson Milford GAA and Pat Barrett Milford GAA Club Executive.