Gymnastics Ireland statement re GymSTART event March 2022
22nd September 2023, 15:48p.m.
We are aware of a video that has been posted on social media relating to an incident that took place over 18 months ago at a GymSTART event in March 2022 for which we received a complaint from the parents of one of our members. Subsequently both parties agreed to enter mediation which was independently facilitated by Sports Disputes Solutions Ireland as per our policy/procedure which led to a resolution agreed by both parties in August 2023.
The complaint alleged racist behaviour by one of our officials at the event. On receipt of the email, as per our policy and standard practice in relation to complaints, we investigated the matter. Gymnastics Ireland immediately contacted the family to express concern and reassure them that the matter was being investigated.
We identified the official concerned and informed the individual in question of the complaint. The official in question accepted fully that what had happened had not been acceptable but stressed that it had not been intentional. The official concerned said that upon realising the mistake they immediately rectified it and ensured that the competitor concerned was presented with her medal before she left the Field of Play (FoP).
The official also expressed deep regret for what they described as an honest error and requested the opportunity to apologise in person to the competitor and her family. This request was initially declined.
A written apology provided by the identified individual has since been issued to the competitor and her family.
At all times we have remained engaged with various parties re the incident including Sport Ireland and the International Gymnastics Federation in addition to various media outlets as and when they have approached us following being contacted regarding this matter.
Subsequently both parties agreed to enter mediation which was independently facilitated by Sports Disputes Solutions Ireland as per our policy/procedure which led to a resolution agreed by both parties in August 2023.
Gymnastics Ireland Member Safeguarding
At the heart of everything we do in Gymnastics Ireland is the welfare of our 36,000+ members. We have always recognised the duty of care we have for a membership base that starts with young children and is predominately children & teenagers.
We have always been and will continue to be a very inclusive sport with a very diverse community of members covering all races, ages, genders, sexualities and socio-economic groups. Our 'Safeguarding' policies set out clear standards of behaviour we expect not alone from our coaches and gymnasts but also from our clubs, officials, administrators, parents/guardians and those who attend our events.
The well-being and safety of gymnasts is at the heart of everything we do. To that end we interact on a continuous basis with bodies such as Sport Ireland, Tusla, the Gardaí and other state agencies/partners to ensure we are always up to date with best practice in relation to member welfare.