Dromard GAA Club in Longford is the first club in the county to go completely smoke free.
Michael Reilly, Club Chairman was recently presented with the Smoke Free policy statement in the clubhouse by joint Health & Wellbeing Officer Doireann Mimnagh on behalf of the Healthy Club committee.
The idea came about as a result of Dromard GAA being selected as one of only 60 clubs in the country by GAA Headquarters to be part of its Healthy Club initiative in February 2016.
Its objective focuses not only the need to support the health and well being of a club's membership but also the wider community.
That focus is designed to ensure that everyone who engages with the club benefits from the experience in a health-enhancing way – with the motto being Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds, Healthy Clubs.
Having set up a Healthy Club committee a number of goals were set in each of the areas – Physical Activity, Healthy Eating, Social Inclusion & Mental Fitness with one of its final goals in this phase which was to make the club and all its grounds a “Smoke Free” zone.
The club is now the picture of health decorated with smoke free signage kindly sponsored by the GAA which will ensure that no one can smoke on the club's facilities and that smokers must leave the GAA grounds if they wish to do so.
Club officials were just as delighted to welcome special guests on the night; Ronan Flynn, GAA National Healthy & Wellbeing Officer from GAA Headquarters, Dr Gail McNeil, Line Manager Cardiovascular Team, HSE Dublin Mid Leinster Region and Tracy Shanley, Granard Community Garda.
Each speaker gave excellent and very informative presentations.
Ronan spoke on the work and objectives of the Healthy Club Project nationally; Gail referred to the HSE's stance on the health risks of smoking, the benefits of smoking cessation and a smoke free environment.
She had a number of resources on hand to highlight the damage smoking can do to an individual and provided free lung testing to any person who wished to avail of it. She also provided leaflets to the local smoking cessation services which are available. Tracy, meanwhile, talked about alcohol and drug misuse.
Afterwards, Ronan heaped praise on the important role rurally based clubs can have in terms of informing people about the health risks associated with smoking.
“The GAA in Dromard is game changing by adapting a smoke free policy which will educate people about the dangers of smoking and save lives in the long term.”