The Federation of Irish Sport has called for the establishment of a working group of key stakeholders to help address the problem of abuse directed at referees, match officials, and players.

Appearing before the Oireachtas Committee on Sport, Mary O'Connor, CEO of the Federation of Irish Sport, said that the working group should be tasked with developing and designing a national code of conduct.

During her appearance, Ms O'Connor outlined a series of measures to tackle abuse of referees and other volunteers involved in sport.

Among the proposals was also a call to provide a suite of resources to assist those who have suffered abuse.

Mary O'Connor said that an overarching campaign for all sport bodies would also be useful. She told Sinn Féin's Johnny Mythen that to date different sporting bodies had run their own campaigns.

Dr Una May, CEO of Sport Ireland said that the organisation was developing a volunteer strategy to help retain people in sport and encourage more to take part.

Officials from the Department of Sport said that the establishment of an Online Safety Commissioner would play a key role in addressing abuse on social media.

Senator Shane Cassells said that he would like to see the measures proposed by the Federation of Irish Sport adopted.

Mr Cassells said that he recently stood in as umpire during a match his daughter was taking part in. He said that a person from the other side starting to abuse the referee, "I said shut your trap or you're gone".

He said it showed that cultural change still had a way to go.

Fine Gael's Alan Dillon suggested the role of a Sports Ombudsman to deal with abuse and complaints.

Last November, referees in the north Dublin children's league went on strike for two weeks, in protest at the abuse they received from the sidelines.