GAA Controversy.

Mixed blessings in Today’s Irish News which in Sports section reports that Next Years GAA Congress might debate rule 42.

Less welcome is that the Irish News carries a report, page 10, on controversy over the new GAA club in Twinbrook, which may be in breach of GAA rule eight which insists that the GAA must be non-sectarian and non-party political.

Cumann na Fuiseoige has placed specifically republican symbols on it’s club badge which results in the article headline

New GAA club’s crest runs ‘rules gauntlet’.

Only a few days ago the Belfast Telegraph carried a report welcoming the new club. It was pleasing to see someone say

“Too often the young people of our communities are seen as a drain, a problem and not an asset,” he added.

“We do not share this view. Youth has always been our strength and the future of this community, and all of communities, lie within their hands.”

However the Club has chosen a crest carrying Icons associated with the IRA Hunger Striker Bobby Sands and the Hunger Strikes.

The Ulster Council of the GAA is reported as declining to comment.

Partricia Lewsley, SDLP described the symbols as ‘inappropriate’ and added ‘it’s a pity they could not find another symbol that is inclusive’.

SF Councillor Paul Butler defended the choice on the grounds that Mr Sands came from Twinbrook – although Mr Sands was born in Rathcoole.

I doubt if this controversial choice will help bridge the gap between the communities.

  • Sam Maguire

    Hurrah! Yet another excuse for GAA is sectarian rants! I think I’ll run a book on How many posts into the thread before Peter Canavan is mentioned?

  • Davros

    On the other Hand Sam let’s pretend that there isn’t a problem with a GAA ground allowing an IRA Colour Party to parade …. and in 20 years time there will still be tragic attacks on kids because the GAA is seen by Loyalist lunatics as an IRA front.

  • George

    What “icons associated with the IRA Hunger Striker Bobby Sands and the Hunger Strikes” are on the crest?

  • Panda

    Now before you get all hot and bothered under the collar, Sam Maguire, let me give you a little bit of reassurance. Whatever the GAA do, many Protestants of my generation will never feel comfortable within their local club.
    For whatever reason the truth is that by and large you’ve lost this generation of potential supporters and players from the Unionist side of the fence.
    It’s up to people like yourself and others within the GAA movement to decide whether it’s worth making the sacrifices to the GAA ethos, necessary to attract the next generation.
    If the answer is no then, fine, I personally won’t lose a great deal of sleep over it, but the GAA then will never be able to claim justifiably to be the game of all Irishmen.
    In the end it’s up to the GAA and the GAA alone to make the decision. Unionists like myself have no part to play in that debate.

  • maca

    Cumann na Fuiseoige shouldn’t be allowed to register with the GAA, who ever has the authority to reject their membership should do so.

  • Davros

    George, Lark, barbed wire and H’s – would you like me to send you a pic of the page ?

  • Davros

    It’s a shame Maca as I was genuinely pleased to read that in The Belfast Telegraph a few days ago.

  • maca

    Panda:
    “Unionists like myself have no part to play in that debate.”

    Very wrong. Unionists do have their part to play.
    Part of the problem is that “Whatever the GAA do, many Protestants of my generation will never feel comfortable within their local club.” so wouldn’t it be natural for many to take the attitude “why bother change if it’ll make no difference?”

    If people thought it would make a difference to unionists then more people might be encouraged to seek reform. Unionists DO have their part to play.

  • maca

    Wonder why the club chose that name as there already is a CnaF:

    “Cumann na Fuiseoige was formed in December 1998 by Republican ex-POWs who speak Irish. Our 3 primary objectives are: 1. To give ex-POWs an opportunity to practice their language. 2. To allow them to meet with the wider Irish-speaking community. 3. To provide training and employment for them through the medium of Irish.”

  • George

    Davros,
    I think I get the idea but send it on anyway.

    Panda,
    everyone has their part to play, unionist or otherwise.

  • Davros

    On it’s way George.

  • Michael Turley

    Bobby Sands sports crests? A bit tacky really (even by provo standards).

    I suppose the GAA don’t have to pander to the Unionist community (or indeed anyone really) but this sends out the wrong signal entirely and they should sort the club out immediately (if the club find this unacceptable then perhaps they can set up a provisional GAA?).

    Imagine SF indignation if another sports club used, for example, an image of Gusty Spence (or Michael Stone!) for their crest.

  • George

    Question: If the former prisoners’ records are expunged, would it not be the case then there is officially nothing controversial about putting up the H-Blocks or the skylark wrapped in barbed wire on a crest?

    Maca,
    I assume they called the team “Cumann na Fuiseoige” as they were previously skylarks singing their lonely songs (Bobby Sands’ poetry book was called Skylark sing your lonely song) themselves so “team of skylarks” would be appropriate.

  • Davros

    Robert Kerr, speaking on behalf of the club, said since the GAA

  • Davros

    George – seems a contradiction to me – GAA is a group activity. The Skylark is solitary.

  • Davros

    MT- It’s quite a plain badge and nothing like as grisly as some of the Iconography.

  • Liam

    I doubt if this controversial choice will help bridge the gap between the communities.

    I don’t think it’s supposed to.

    Let’s just accept that the GAA is what it is. It is the Gaelic Athletic Association after all and it has it’s own unique ethos and tradition.

    Unlike the Orange Order it does not seek to impose itself on anybody elses tradition or culture.

    The GAA has done marvellous work and has provided a sporting outlet and facilities for generations of youngsters who would otherwise not have had these facilities.

    The reality is that a huge section of our community would have no notion or desire to participate in Gaelic games, even if the Twinbrrok club was named the Charles Winsor GAA Club.

    The GAA threatens nobody, why not just leave it alone and let it be what it is.

  • willowfield

    Hurrah! Yet another excuse for GAA is sectarian rants! I think I’ll run a book on How many posts into the thread before Peter Canavan is mentioned?

    Doesn’t the fact that these incidents keep occurring indicate that the GAA has a sectarian problem?

    But, Mr Robert Kerr is correct: the GAA is associated with nationalism and republicanism. That is the problem!

    It’ll be interesting to see what, if anything, the GAA does about this. Will it refuse to sanction the symbols? They turn a blind eye to many other similar uses of violent nationalist iconography, so why would they take action in this particular case?

  • willowfield

    Liam

    Why do you think the GAA should remain as an exclusivist organisation?

    Why are politics more important to the GAA than being inclusive?

  • ulsterman

    Look how many times do we have to go down this road?. No self respecting Unionist would touch the GAA with a barge pole. Since its inception it has been a front for the Pope, the IRA and all the enemies of Ulster.

    What are the other 41 rules of the GAA anyway?. All we here about is rule 42. The one rule that should be used is that of treason. All in the GAA should be arrested and shot as traitors.

    God Save The Queen.

  • Robert Keogh

    Oh no, please not another GAA thread!

    WF points out that the problem that one side of the community has with the GAA is the perception it’s associted with nationalism and republicanism.

    In all the debates we’ve had on this point the two sides disagree with the veracity of this perception. We’ve talked it to death and neither side can agree on this. So let’s just avoid that tarpit.

    Neither community has a problem with Nationalism – Unionism is British Nationalism and “nationalism” is Irish Nationalism. Both subscribe to it so let’s put that aside as an objection, since there’s no way either side is going to give ground on the validity of their positions.

    Republicanism – the disestablishment of the monarchy and replacement with a form of government that recognises the right to rule dervies from the people not god (or whatever else).

    Are there unionists who want to retain the union but want a british republic?

  • Peace and Justice

    An earlier posting said: “Let’s just accept that the GAA is what it is. It is the Gaelic Athletic Association after all and it has it’s own unique ethos and tradition”

    Sure. Unionists can accept the GAA for what it is- politics mixed with sport. But why does the British Government fund such sectarianism? Most other groups who apply for funding have to prove some sort of cross-community support. But not the political GAA.

    Why don’t Unionists set up the Orange Athletic Association and apply for millions of pounds of funding? It should make no attempt to compromise on it’s Ulster-British identity. The Government could not refuse funding given its financial support of the sectarian GAA.

  • Liam

    Liam

    Why do you think the GAA should remain as an exclusivist organisation?

    Why are politics more important to the GAA than being inclusive?

    I didn’t say that. I am all for inclusivity but the Gaelic Athletic Association should just be recognised for what it is.

    Other countries have their national and cultural sports too, right?

    The GAA is not an exclusivist organisation, neither is it a sectarian organisation. So don’t get carried away and make it more than it is.

    That is dangerous and foolish talk.

  • maca

    Agreed Robert. The pro- and anti-GAA groups will never agree and while the debates can be mildly interesting at times in truth they are of little value.
    As Panda said earlier “Whatever the GAA do, many Protestants of my generation will never feel comfortable within their local club.” so what does repeating the same discussions over and over accomplish?

  • Davros

    Liam – if you want that Gaelic Culture -language and sport- to be embraced by everybody on this Island, to be FOR everybody on this Island as was intended by the Founders of the Gaelic League then it obviously has to be inclusive.

    The politicisation of the bodies set up by those who wanted to save Gaelic Culture was a disaster that ended up in a form of Cultural apartheid that rather than uniting has in fact divided. Now forgive me if I’m wrong, but isn’t that what Sinn F

  • maca

    Davros
    “I would hope that if enough protestants and Unionists say that it’s not the language and the culture, it’s the partisan politics that prevents us from participating , then those interested in the Culture and Language for their own sake will be strengthened in taking on the bigots.”

    What do you think of the earlier statement that it makes no difference what the GAA do they still wouldn’t be accepted?

    “At some point soon I hope to be able to attend Irish Classes.”

    Seriously? Good man. If you do then check out Now You’re Talking (good course, Ulster dialect).

    “If when I attend they are held in a politically threatening or intimidating environement I wouldn’t continue.”

    And you’d be dead right.
    But if they made an effort to address some of the problems would it change your mind?

  • Davros

    Maca : But if they made an effort to address some of the problems would it change your mind?

    Of course. Some of the things That my community would find difficult would probably be there without there being any realisation that others might find them problematic. Look at the Contortions over neutrality in working environement – eg the Fuss over The Head of the CSA, Barney McGahern, breaking dress Code by wearing a GAA top- and no before anybody else says anything I don’t have a problem with GAA tops apart from the fact that they are a total rip-off!
    On the other hand if one turned up and there were half a dozen muscular guys chatting about their time in the Kesh and asking if I wanted to buy a Raffle ticket for “ex-prisoners” how wise would it be to raise the issue ? πŸ˜‰

    Re Panda’s comments – How old are you panda, Ball park figure ? – what was said was that ” many Protestants of my generation “. If even 10% of protestants became involved wouldn’t that be worth
    more than associations such as the GAA retaining that Irish Republican ethos ESPECIALLY as now that ethos can so much easier be expressed directly through the ballot box ?

  • maca

    “Some of the things That my community would find difficult would probably be there without there being any realisation that others might find them problematic”

    Very true.
    Many if not most of the issues the unionist community have with the GAA only became known to me since I came to Slugger. Good communication is vital in these cases, but unfortunatly lacking.

    “On the other hand if one turned up and there were half a dozen muscular guys chatting about their time in the Kesh and asking if I wanted to buy a Raffle ticket for “ex-prisoners” how wise would it be to raise the issue ? ;)”

    Turn and high-tail it outta there πŸ˜‰

  • willowfield

    Liam

    I didn’t say that. I am all for inclusivity but the Gaelic Athletic Association should just be recognised for what it is.

    Don’t you see the contradiction?!

    The GAA is not an exclusivist organisation

    You just admitted that it was!

    maca

    As Panda said earlier “Whatever the GAA do, many Protestants of my generation will never feel comfortable within their local club.” so what does repeating the same discussions over and over accomplish?

    I think he was making the point that the GAA needs to be taking action now to make future generations of Protestants feel comfortable.

  • maca

    WF
    “I think he was making the point that the GAA needs to be taking action now to make future generations of Protestants feel comfortable.”

    Though the question remains “what does repeating the same discussions over and over accomplish?”

    You make a valid point but the GAA is already changing and will continue to do so in future anyway. There’s no reason why the current generation should be a lost cause though. IMHO.

  • George

    “On the other hand if one turned up and there were half a dozen muscular guys chatting about their time in the Kesh and asking if I wanted to buy a Raffle ticket for “ex-prisoners” how wise would it be to raise the issue ? ;)”

    I think the muscles would let you know you were in the Ulster Scots class Davros πŸ™‚

    As for the skylarks, Sands compared the plight of a caged lark to the life of a H-Block prisoner so that’s why they, as former “caged larks” probably thought “team of skylarks” an appropriate.

  • Davros

    the GAA is already changing and will continue to do so in future anyway.

    One of the problems is that the process of change – long-term benefits- is visibly and vocally contested and the airing of grievances is contributing to the tension especially in the North – short-term drawback.

  • maca

    Davros
    “One of the problems is that the process of change – long-term benefits- is visibly and vocally contested and the airing of grievances is contributing to the tension especially in the North – short-term drawback.”

    Very true Davros. I’m just still harping on about this point that it makes no difference to the current generation what the GAA does in the short term πŸ˜‰

    If you want my opinion on the short term i’d like to see a complete overhaul of many clubs inculding club name, ground & symbols as well as a rewrite of the rules to remove any contentious issues.
    To most GAA members though, it would still be the same GAA … all about the sports (… or language, music or whatever, depending on you’re involvement).

  • Panda

    davros-you’re a nosey so and so;), I’m in my 30s.
    The point that I made about Unionists should not be involved in the debate is that the GAA alone should decide whether the rulebook stands scrutiny in the 21st Century. As an outsider many parts of it look archaic but rule 22 or whatever number it is, is not what stops Unionists pursuing an interest in the sport. It’s things like personal safety(I read an article in the Blanket about Dr McIntyre’s experiences with a group of Armagh supporters travelling down to Croke-how welcome would I be in such a group?), things like the name of clubs, things like the flag and anthem. In my opinion you’re perfectly entitled to call your club, the Crossmaglen Brithaters if you like, fly whatever flag you like and sing whatever songs you like but you shouldn’t be surprised if Protestants don’t turn up. The debate on this kind of question will be decided between the progressive and the trad wing of GAA not between Unionism and the GAA.
    Once Protestants see the changes there will(in my opinion) be for a long time, only a trickle of people giving it a go and depending on the experiences of that trickle the GAA in counties like Antrim and Down could be transformed.
    But in the end it’s up to the GAA alone to decide whether they want this kind of transformation.

  • davidbrew

    Ho Hum
    just dropped in to this interesting thread to say “Told you so” to all those apologists and contortionists from previous threads.
    Fair dues though to the GAA after Sunday- A punchup BEFORE kickoff! I’ll let Mr Wenger know of this tactic b4 Man Ure visit Highbury

  • davidbrew

    Ho Hum
    just dropped in to this interesting thread to say “Told you so” to all those apologists and contortionists from previous threads.
    Fair dues though to the GAA after Sunday- A punchup BEFORE kickoff! I’ll let Mr Wenger know of this tactic b4 Man Ure visit Highbury

  • maca

    I strongly disagree Panda.

    Personal safety: Wouldn’t take long for you to drive to a game in the south, perhaps an inter county match. At those games you’d be as safe as any one. Unless you wear a sash and bowler hat πŸ˜‰
    I also doubt you would get trouble in the North but I am guessing there.

    As for this being up to the GAA alone, I again strongly disagree. For unionists/Northern prods your experiences with the North will be with your fellow provincemen. Personally I think most of the change needs to happen in the North to make the individual clubs there more welcoming to your community. But I think you really have to consider the history of the game there, the attacks on GAA grounds & members by security forces and loyalists because they have greatly contributed to the situation we find ourselves in now where the sports are for one community only. Unionists/N.Prods can play their part in assissting change, it may be the responsibility of the GAA but the results of change would benefit both sides.

    …if any of that made sense??

  • willowfield

    At those games you’d be as safe as any one. Unless you wear a sash and bowler hat

    Would an Orangemen be physically attacked at a GAA match?

  • Davros

    Maca- chicken and egg element in the conflict.

  • Gerry O’Sullivan

    Willowfield

    Maybe you missed the “;)” at the end of maca’s comment.

    You might get a few odd looks (assuming the Orangeman in question was fully kitted out in sash, bowler, gloves, etc.), but I doubt very much if physical violence would follow.

  • willowfield

    That’s reassuring.

  • maca

    “Would an Orangemen be physically attacked at a GAA match?”

    A few odd looks perhaps. Though you might encounter some gobshite who might think you are being provocative by wearing the sash.
    I personally have never seen a fight ‘off-field’ at a GAA game and doubt too many people (down south at least) would be too bothered with what you wore.

  • maca

    … people like David Brewster are actually part of the problem in this. No offence intended to you David but your attitude is typical of the kind of attitude which drives a wedge further between the two communities. It’s not just the GAA which needs to change, IMHO.

    Davros – very true again. Just wanted to point out that there are two sides to everything. Sometimes it seems that there is only one wrong side.

  • Davros

    One GAA thing as an aside – had to smile – was mooching around online “Foreign” GAA sites when I noticed this badge Londain

    Now THERE’s a compromise …

    Londainderry ?

    Londaindoire ?

  • davidbrew

    a perfectly honourable position for an Irish speaker to adopt Davros

    maca-I’m only part of the problem (which I proudly acknowledge) in the context of the problem being a failure to recognise and accord equal validity to my identity. And if you can’t see a problem with the GAA which your community needs to address, then you’re too blind to ever understand mine, so you’ll continue to wallow in your prejudice.

    If the GAA wants to name a club after Fred West it can, but it -and you-should be honest enough to recognise the consequences of that decision -namely Unionist alienation from it. I keep saying on thids blog that nationalism keeps telling Unionists who and what they are not vice versa.

  • maca

    … boy that site really screws up in Firefox!

  • PS

    Davros I don’t understand your point on GAA shirts being a rip off, they are at least a tenner cheaper,

  • maca

    David, I am well able to see the problems within the GAA and I have addressed those here many times. And if you even bothered to read the earlier posts you would also see my view on the club name issue.
    And you talk about being blind!
    You are part of the problem but in a much wider context than you’ll admit David.

  • Davros

    Morning Patrick πŸ™‚

    You can tell how long it has been since I bought a soccer shirt then ! A couple of years ago I sent some GAA shirts to friends in the USA as Christmas Presents – Trip to Magherafelt -prices for Tyrone Shirts were much the same as the soccer shirts.

    Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t playing games about Soccer vs GAA , it was a grumble at the outrageous prices charged for an item that would cost little – seven quid is a figure I recall – to produce. A quick look at the Shorts of Crossmaglen website shows that they have them for

  • maca

    The GAA shirts are scandalous prices (as are the soccer ones).

    (btw gaelicgear.com have some shirts for

  • slackjaw

    Panda

    ‘I read an article in the Blanket about Dr McIntyre’s experiences with a group of Armagh supporters travelling down to Croke-how welcome would I be in such a group?’

    Not very. But neither would I, and I’m an Armagh supporter too. You can’t expect all GAA supporters to be Renaissance Men, any more than you can expect this of Man Utd supporters. You may have the impression that the individuals described in McIntyre’s article are representative of GAA supporters in general. This is not the case.

    maca

    You are right – it is incumbent on the local GAA clubs to reach out to Unionists in their community. This should be backed by the County Boards. Aside from the obvious mutual understanding benefits, encouragement of Unionists to play for GAA clubs would increase Ulster counties’ chances of winning the All-Ireland due to the widened pool of talent;)

    Re the club names. These are unlikely to get changed. Clubs are a rather complex expression of local identity, and proposing name changes could be fraught with difficulty. Club members are normally fiercely proud of their club’s history and tradition, which includes the club name. Given this, I think it is better to work to create circumstances in which club names and symbols are no longer considered antagonistic by members of the Unionist community.

    This starts by actively encouraging Unionist participation in local clubs. One could even go as far as promote the formation of new clubs in Unionist areas.

    Is there any rule out there that prohibits the formation of GAA clubs whose name or colours express a Unionist or British identity?

    I see no reason why the GAA’s past has to be its future.

  • maca

    Slackjaw
    Regarding club/grounds names, in cases where the names will very obviously not be acceptable I think the GAA should force the clubs to change or else refuse to allow them membership of the GAA. But I must stress, this is for extreme cases. Clubs names can mean a lot but clubs merge and change names once in a while, all part of the process of change.

  • Davros

    SJ – I think the promotion of nationalist ethos would cause difficulties for a club expressing a Unionist identity. Read the GAA official Guide-

    WHOA !

    Hows THIS for sexism ?

    “The primary purpose of the G.A.A. is the organisation of native pastimes and the promotion of athletic fitness as a means to create a disciplined, self- reliant, national-minded manhood .

    Page 4

  • maca

    “I think the promotion of nationalist ethos would cause difficulties for a club expressing a Unionist identity”

    What does “promotion of nationalist ethos” mean?

    I’d love to see a unionist and/or protestant community based club starting in NI, it would really stir things up.

  • slackjaw

    Davros,

    Point taken. As regards the promotion of a nationalist ethos, I see no reason for adopting a defeatist line on these matters. Just because something exists in a rulebook doesn’t mean you can’t work to change it. We are all very capable of subverting existing rules and laws, and I see no reason why this could not be done in this case.

    The manhood thing is a case in point – I’ve seen plenty of Camogie and Womens football matches – and have yet to see a single manhood there. πŸ˜‰

    What I’m trying to say is that Unionists need not be excluded from the GAA until such a time that all GAA appurtenances are scrupulously neutral. If there is one thing that would accelerate change within the GAA, it would be wider participation of Unionists.

  • willowfield

    How about one called “Shankill Butchers”?

  • Davros

    One of the most unsettling sights I experienced , alog with a few other old Fogeys in the pub, was when the Camogie team called in for a drink before changing after practice πŸ™‚ Forget mini-skirts ! I did however get a clip round the ear for telling one of the girls that I thought Roy Keane was visiting until I looked up from the ankles LOL

  • slackjaw

    How about one called “Shankill Butchers”?

    You’ll never know until you try.

  • maca

    Nothing stopping you starting your own club Willow πŸ˜‰ (apart from the whole ethos thingy of course)

  • Ringo

    This won’t really go down too well with Croke Park, but while it remains under the radar down south nothing will happen.

    It is worth noting that the GAA Congress refused to support motions of solidarity with the Hunger Strikers twenty-odd years ago despite coming under very strong pressure from the GAA Ulster Council’s motions to do so. It was a very significant needle between the representatives of the Ulster counties and the other three provinces.

  • PS

    The reason for the apperently sexist language would be that while camogie and ladies’ football have a very close relationship with football and hurling, they are in fact run by seperate organisations and the rules of each game differ slightly. That said, I think the sentence could be phrased a little more eloquently, given the great adminstration work and promotion of our games by many females in most clubs.

  • maca

    The “manhood” thingy, this was probably written quite a while ago. The noun “manhood” can also mean the ‘state of being human being’ (free dic, word ref).

    That said it should be written as the ladies contribute greatly to the GAA.

  • willowfield

    It is worth noting that the GAA Congress refused to support motions of solidarity with the Hunger Strikers twenty-odd years ago despite coming under very strong pressure from the GAA Ulster Council’s motions to do so. It was a very significant needle between the representatives of the Ulster counties and the other three provinces.

    Instead, they gave “unequivocal support” to “the struggle for national liberation”.

    Can anyone guess what that might be code for?

  • Davros

    Again it’s worth stressing that most of us who have problems with aspects of the GAA are most exposed to
    the attitudes and behaviour of the Ulster GAA who are very different, as has been pointed out by several including Maca, from the GAA of the rest of this Island.

    Part of our problem is that we tend to judge organisations by their worst profile rsther than their best. The Good in the GAA , as with the OO, is VERY good. The bad, from both, are awful.

  • Davros

    The “manhood” thingy, this was probably written quite a while ago.

    2003 πŸ™‚

  • Peace and Justice

    I’m looking forward to the creation of the Orange Athletic Association (OAA) – the sporting wing of the Orange Order. Or perhaps Unionists are just too polite to ask the Government for money? Maybe they would rather celebrate their culture in old Orange huts while the GAA sit in their ‘castles’ paid for by the British Government. Perhaps that’s the real equality agenda?

  • maca

    Davros, much of the rule book was probably written many decades ago and never revised. πŸ˜‰

  • ulsterman

    Yeah Willowfield, a code to support the IRA and the Pope. We are not fools,we know the enemies of Ulster Protestanism

    God Save The Queen.

  • davidbrew

    Let’s play a new game…you know how we usually kick the jaffas , well….

    once upon a time,in Alabama, there was an organisation called the “Confederate Athletic Association”, which was established for the promotion of healthy activities by the “native population of the country” (sic). They were to be “disciplined,self reliant, and national-minded”. They were in clubs named after great white heroes like Nathan Bedford Forrest -founder of the KKK, or Governor George Wallace. Local clubs fiercely defended these names as their tradition, even though some found them offensive. They flew the flag of the Confederate States at all their matches, and sang Dixieland before kick off. Until recently they banned members of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People from joining because they were opposed to the CAA’s ethos. They didn’t really mind though if some KKK members were involved in the clubs, as indeed several had been, so long as they were circumspect about their activities. A club was even formed in tribute to a leading KKK member who had died in prison.

    Of course they didn’t prevent ordinary “coloured people” from joining. It’s just for some strange reason no member of the ethnic minority community felt at ease at the games, harbouring the ludicrous idea that this was more than just a sporting organisation ,and that it might have some sort of other agenda.

    Now don’t worry children,it’s only a fairytale- such a thing couldn’t really happen…could it?

    If you don’t like the analogy, you shouldn’t. But it shows you the problem of perception, and the GAA needs to address that if it is ever to be an organisation for all.

  • davidbrew

    Let’s play a new game…you know how we usually kick the jaffas , well….

    once upon a time,in Alabama, there was an organisation called the “Confederate Athletic Association”, which was established for the promotion of healthy activities by the “native population of the country” (sic). They were to be “disciplined,self reliant, and national-minded”. They were in clubs named after great white heroes like Nathan Bedford Forrest -founder of the KKK, or Governor George Wallace. Local clubs fiercely defended these names as their tradition, even though some found them offensive. They flew the flag of the Confederate States at all their matches, and sang Dixieland before kick off. Until recently they banned members of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People from joining because they were opposed to the CAA’s ethos. They didn’t really mind though if some KKK members were involved in the clubs, as indeed several had been, so long as they were circumspect about their activities. A club was even formed in tribute to a leading KKK member who had died in prison.

    Of course they didn’t prevent ordinary “coloured people” from joining. It’s just for some strange reason no member of the ethnic minority community felt at ease at the games, harbouring the ludicrous idea that this was more than just a sporting organisation ,and that it might have some sort of other agenda.

    Now don’t worry children,it’s only a fairytale- such a thing couldn’t really happen…could it?

    If you don’t like the analogy, you shouldn’t. But it shows you the problem of perception, and the GAA needs to address that if it is ever to be an organisation for all.

  • maca

    David, perhaps like blacks have done in the US you could set up the first orange teams? πŸ˜‰

    A point about perception, nationalist have their own perceptions too, as do us southies, these need to be adressed also.
    Add it to the list of things to be addressed in NI, item # 183408127460124.

  • davidbrew

    oh sorry I forgot to oblige Sam in the first post-
    Peter Canavan!
    Glad to be of service

  • davidbrew

    2David, perhaps like blacks have done in the US you could set up the first orange teams? ;)2

    An implicit acknowledgement by maca that both the “CAA” and the GAA are discriminatory and sectarian. Thank you for that, even if you could have been clearer.

    Your example refers to black baseball teams in the 1940s and the eventual removal of racial discriminatrion in that sport. But the ethos of the sport was neutral-it was the society in which it flourished which practised the racism. My example is a more direct parallel to the GAA. Could you imagine a self respecting black taking part in the “CAA”? Now perhaps you see our antipathy

  • James

    “David, perhaps like blacks have done in the US you could set up the first orange teams?”

    They could set up winter training camps in Orange County. Florida or California, take your pick.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Re. Crossmaglen Brithaters…

    Crossmaglen gets awful stick on here. It’s a bit unfair to the home of Gene Morgan, Larry Kearns, Joe Kernan, Jim and Oisin McConville, Tony and John McEntee and the inestimable Francie Bellew. It’s one of the great wellsprings of Irish sporting genius but you’d never know it.

    I’m sure many of the posters on here will be aware that the name of the current Armagh champions, and 3-time former Ulster and All Ireland champions is Crossmaglen Rangers, one of the oldest clubs in Ireland.

    Gaelic football caught the public imagination in south Armagh in the 1880s and 1890s when two clubs in the village emerged as great rivals – Crossmaglen Celtic and Crossmaglen Rangers.

    At the turn of the century new clubs sprang up in surrounding areas such as Mullabawn, Dromintee, Cullaville, Forkhill, Carrickcruppen, Silverbridge etc, weakening both Crossmaglen clubs but particularly Celtic.

    Before long there weren’t many Celtic men left in Crossmaglen but support for the Rangers remained strong so the two Crossmaglen rivals decided to merge. The factions argued long and hard about the name for the new club but eventually it was decided that Celtic was out, and Rangers have been THE team in Crossmaglen ever since.

    So it’s unfair that in a debate about clubs with names that are offensive to unionists, I think Crossmaglen should be given a particular mention as an example of a club that has done its bit to reach out across the divide.

  • Davros

    Nice post Billy. I had wondered about the name.

  • maca

    “An implicit acknowledgement by maca that both the “CAA” and the GAA are discriminatory and sectarian.”

    There’s no such acknowledgement David, keep dreaming son!!

  • cg

    “At the turn of the century new clubs sprang up in surrounding areas such as Mullabawn, Dromintee”

    Billy just a point of information.

    Dromintee is the oldest club in Armagh and founded before Cross (feb, 1887)

    As a Dromintee man I couldnt allow you away with that. HA HA