Press Release

Statement by Minister Pat the Cope Gallagher following the launch of new resources developed as part of the GAA’s National Alcohol and Substance Abuse Prevention (ASAP) Programme

Pat the Cope Gallagher, T.D., Minister for Health Promotion and Food Safety at the Department of Health and Children, was special guest today (3rd April, 2008) at the launch of new resources developed as part of the GAA’s National Alcohol and Substance Abuse Prevention (ASAP) Programme in the GAA Museum, Croke Park, Dublin.

The resources, developed by Brendan Murphy, National Coordinator of the ASAP Programme, with the support of the HSE and Department of Health and Children were launched by President of the GAA, Nickey Brennan.

The ASAP Programme, which commenced in 2005, has the aim of reducing the harm that is being caused by alcohol and drugs. To this end, Provincial Officers were appointed to liaise with Provincial Councils, County Officers have been appointed and trained and they in turn are assisting Club Officers to action ASAP initiatives at club level.

The ASAP Programme, which commenced in 2005, has the aim of reducing the harm that is being caused by alcohol and drugs. To this end, Provincial Officers were appointed to liaise with Provincial Councils, County Officers have been appointed and trained and they in turn are assisting Club Officers to action ASAP initiatives at club level.

Speaking at the launch, Minister Gallagher, said:

“I very much welcome the GAA’s Alcohol and Substance abuse Prevention Programme. The ASAP Programme intends to reduce the harm that is caused by alcohol and drugs by developing a structure of people throughout the association with specific roles at club, county and provincial levels.   As Minister for Health Promotion I am encouraged by the excellent work taking place within the sports sector. Participation in sport encourages our young people to enjoy a healthy lifestyle and to become aware of all the benefits that physical activity and exercise will bring to their daily lives. Every weekend thousands of players, mentors and supporters play or watch our national games. The GAA, through its clubs and organisational structure, plays a huge role in forming and influencing attitudes and behaviours among our young people. That is why it is so important for sporting organisations like the GAA to send out the correct message in relation to alcohol and drugs.”

Minister Gallagher thanked the GAA, with its unique national infrastructure, for taking up the challenge of examining harmful alcohol and drug use and being prepared to develop and implement strategies across the whole organisation and said he hoped that it will encourage other sporting organisation to follow suit.