DUP Culture Spokesman on GAA.

As an attempt to relieve the overload, and tempers, on the NI representatives to sit in Dail? thread , I thought it might be interesting to post a letter in today’s Irish News, page 9, from Nelson McCausland, MLA.
The GAA should be honest about its political agenda
Is there anybody in Northern Ireland who thinks that the GAA are not open and honest about their politics ? Should Nelson have recognised the difference between the Northern GAA and the GAA in ROI in respect of any political emphasis ?
Full marks to Nelson, however, for ignoring the PC “spokesperson” nonsense. Proud to be XY in an XX dominated world!The Letter in full.

The GAA should be honest about its political agenda
THERE has been some recent correspondence in the Irish News, including a letter from Caitriona Ruane MLA of Sinn Fein, about the GAA.

This follows a Talkback debate broadcast from Stormont.

At that debate I raised the question of the political dimension of the GAA and said that it was more than just a sporting organisation.

That is also the view of Archbishop Sean Brady, leader of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland.

He contributed a chapter to a book, Talking Gaelic, admitting: “The GAA is more than just a sporting organisation, it has played a part in the national identity and the association is very aware of this.”

That is an understatement… but the admission that the GAA is ‘more than just a sporting organisation’ is the important consideration.

In fact the GAA has a political agenda – that of Irish nationalism and Irish republicanism.

It is perfectly entitled to have that agenda but it should be open and honest about it and those who provide public funding for the GAA should acknowledge it too.

The body that is being funded is not an ordinary organisation but rather a sporting organisation with a political agenda.

During the debate I also referred to the practice of naming Gaelic grounds, clubs and competitions after republican terrorists and there are many examples.

Croke Park in Dublin was named after the first GAA patron, Archbishop Croke of Cashel.

But the Nally Stand, built in 1952, was named after Patrick William Nally, the first chairman of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, a secret oath-bound terrorist organisation.

One of the highlights of the GAA year is the All-Ireland Gaelic Football final in September when teams compete for the Sam Maguire Cup.

Maguire was a senior IRB member who supplied guns to republican terrorists in Ireland and tried to set up people in England as targets for republican murderers.

As the former head of the West Belfast Festival, Caitriona Ruane will also be familiar with the Mairead Farrell Camogie Tournament, which was part of the festival programme.

Farrell served a 10-year prison sentence for bombing in the Conway Hotel at Dunmurry and was eventually killed in Gibraltar in 1988 while she was on another terrorist mission.

These are two issues that need to be addressed by the GAA and other advocates of Gaelic games.

Whether or not the GAA retains its political goal of taking Northern Ireland out of the United Kingdom is a matter for the GAA but the organisation should be open about the fact that they hold that political stance.

Moreover they should acknowledge that this is a bar against participation by unionists.

They are perfectly entitled to operate in that way but they should not attempt to conceal it.

As regards naming aspects of the Gaelic sport after republican terrorists, that is an altogether different matter. It is a practice that should be ended.

NELSON McCAUSLAND MLA, DUP Culture spokesman, Belfast