Anti GAA campaign continues?

This photo was taken last Wednesday morning in Ahoghill. It seems that some of the sentiments that saw the removal from the village of some of its relatively few Catholic residents still remain. One of the posters seems to be one highlighted by Deaglan a few weeks back.

  • Yer Woman

    Ah Lord. I despair with the Villiage of Aghohill. What is it that makes this encalve of Norn Iron so bitter and twisted?

  • Zorro

    Quite what the sectarian bigots hoped to achieve by these posters is a mystery. It’s just a sad that they haven’t gone away you know!

    Anyone for a pluralist society?

  • GavBelfast

    It does look like the work of rank amateurs/pranksters but of course, being Northern Ireland and especially Ahoghill with its track record, it would be hard to dismiss it if on the receiving end.

    If it is people acting the lig, let’s hope they wise up. If a genuine threat, let’s hope the culprits are caught and punished.

    Either way, I hope the majority community in the area and their community representatives stand up to defend anyone who feels threatened.

  • I am currently studying in Texas but my girlfriend is from Ahoghill so any info anyone could provide on the events happening there would be greatly appreciated.

  • ch in texas

    David, This is a bit off thread, but how are you enjoying our fair (ok, hot) state, and compare it from where your from.

  • Bad timing Ch I have just spent my second day in hospital since I got here, this time with kidney and gallbladder problems picked up playing football. Apart from that I am loving its been a lot of fun even if it is too hot. It is different to home.

    Sorry for going off topic

  • ch in texas

    Well David, I’m sorry to hear your’re sick, esp. away from home. Rest up and take care.

  • Thanks CH I will

  • John East Belfast

    David

    I genuinely hope you are feeling better.

    However I am intrigued how can you get

    “kidney and gallbladder problems playing football”

  • Thats a long story but the doctor said one of two things happened. First explanation involves a tackle in which I broke a toe which sent my body into shock for some reason or other. (The doctor did explain I just didnt understand it)

    Or else I got tackled and the contact with the other player was in my back and hit my kidneys. I dont remember a tackle that would have hit my back so I dont know which did the damage but that was the two explanations the doctor offered and he said it was more likely the first one.

  • Brian Boru

    More Unionist oppression.

  • billy

    Contact the spin doctor !!!

  • stu

    Paisley’s the local MP, isn’t he? I think he should be getting his backside down there and start taking those posters down, continue his small steps like in Ballymena the other month.

    Have to say though; those are poor, poor, quality posters- it looks like a ten year old did them. But we’ll not talk about that, it might detract from the idea that everyone who wants a Union here is a raving sectarian bigot, and that every single Protestant in the village must have got together and planned this.

  • Conor

    ok, start editing and getting rid of the sob stories and get well soon messages soon as eh mick and peter?

  • Conor

    why do unionists and loyalists care so bloody much about gaelic games? seriously, catch yourselves on, its not like you are being excluded, its a simple fact that no matter what,you wont want to join in anyway.

  • The Thinker

    When will the, join the Grand knights of the Loyal Order of White Patriots and Loyal Sons of the Ancient Kingdom of Catholic free Ulster Masonic Wasps, start appearing?

  • missfitz

    Conor
    I dunno, I was quite intrigued by the “goes to hospital with broken toe and comes out minus kidney/gallbladder” tale.
    It provides a little relief from the continuing anti-anything-catholic campaign in fair Agohill hi.

    Get well soon David

  • ch in texas

    Conor, I think the get well soon stuff is straight on point. If more of your countrymen looked after their neighbor a bit, this Agohill mess wouldn’t go on. David, an Irishman in hospital in my country, was reaching out for a bita home. Show a little compassion, For Christ sake!

  • Paul

    I accept that the GAA in the past (and possibly still to some degree) has been an organisation set up on sectarian/exclusionist lines. However, I don’t possibly see how Unionists have valid grounds to complain. The fact is that the most blatent discrimination happens within the Orange Order. No Catholic may join, and any member who marries a Catholic is kicked out. Now THAT’S what i call facism.

  • Roseberry Bush

    Paul but the OO is just an innocent church loving community based organisation, whose members respect the rule of law and order work all year round for charity. Always welcome Catholics to watch their parades happily from the sidelines when they are forcing their way through lovely Catholic areas which just happen to have a little thing called the Queens highway!!!!

  • Brian Boru

    The OO is a segregationist society. Remember at the recent Love Ulster rally they were talking about setting up a separate bank etc. for Protestants. It reminds me of how in the Deep South of the US or in South Africa there would be certain places you could only go if you were White or Black. Seems this spirit is alive and well in one part of Western Europe.

    The Catholic planters sent over by Mary Tudor in the Laois-Offaly Plantation assimilated – like the Normans before them – into Irish society. They came to regard Ireland as opposed to Britain as their home. They put Ireland first. The descendents of the Ulster planters have not gone through this phase (known to the English as becoming “more Irish than the Irish themselves). I believe that if this had happened we would not today have partition. I guess that the context was a bit different in that by the time the Ulster plantation happened, the Reformation had arrived with the consequent religious hatreds of the times. But Irish Catholics were not the first to visit sectarian hatred on this island. It was the British in the form of the various laws they passed to try to impose their religion on us. It was not us that provoked them to invade our country, or to confiscate our lands, or to deny us the vote, or the right to buy property, or to get an education in university, or to force us to pay tithes (taxes) to their Church. They did this to us entirely unprovoked and in so far as we fought back, it was in retaliation for what had been taken from us.

    While the massacres of 1641 are to be condemned, they need to be seen in context. The 17th century was an extremely sectarian century all over Europe and not just in Ireland. Also, the events of 1641 were preceded by the Plantations which entailed equally bad crimes against the native Irish Catholics. It was tit for tat, and not – as presented by some Orange propagandists – people being killed simply for their religion. The Irish people of the day foresaw that if the plantation was left in place it would one day result in the partition of Ireland. They wanted to prevent it getting that far.

    Now that was centuries ago and I believe in forgive and forget, and that the descendents of the colonists have a right to stay here as they are not responsible for the actions of their ancestors. But equally, the Orange crowd need to end their historically-based hatreds of Catholics based on a thoroughly biased version of history, in which 1641 was simply a massacre of Protestants because of their religion, and in which it was unprovoked, and in which 1798 was solely a Catholic rebellion with no Protestant involvement and in which all the Catholic rebels attacked Protestant civilians. The Orange parades are triumphalist and sectarian and the ban on members marrying Catholics is based on bigotry and it’s time this organisation, if it wants anyone to believe it isn’t just a hate-tribe then it needs to allow its members to marry Catholics and enter into a dialogue with residents groups in areas of contentious parades e.g. Drumcree.

  • Brian Boru

    Dunno why #### came up was just the word “H a t e”.

  • willowfield

    Paul

    I accept that the GAA in the past (and possibly still to some degree) has been an organisation set up on sectarian/exclusionist lines. However, I don’t possibly see how Unionists have valid grounds to complain. The fact is that the most blatent discrimination happens within the Orange Order. No Catholic may join, and any member who marries a Catholic is kicked out. Now THAT’S what i call facism [sic].

    Interesting that you consider the GAA and the OO to be equivalent organisations. Certainly there are similarities, but at least the OO doesn’t pretend to be anything other than it is: Protestant-only.

  • How did the OO get dragged in here?
    If you’re wanting to defend the GAA’s ethos, I would say stay well clear of those kind of comparisons.

    Brian Boru
    “the descendents of the colonists have a right to stay here”
    Thanks for that, very noble of you!

    Don’t fall into the trap of stigmatising the entire Unionist population because of the actions of a few sectarian morons in a small N. Antrim village.

  • ppe

    Ya the gaa is so catholic only what with intercounty protestant players, and presidents. I cud name them but id be here all nite

  • Willow
    “at least the OO doesn’t pretend to be anything other than it is”

    Rubbish. Of course they do, all the time! They pretend to be an organisation which promotes tolerance & compassion and “Civil and Religious Liberty for all”. Check their website and see for yourself.

  • Alan2

    What do you expect when you have an Assembly based on institutionalised sectarianism an things like parades commissions and residents groups who talk about “our areas” or “loyalist areas” or “nationalist areas” or “catholic areas” or “protestant areas”?

  • Alan2

    “The OO is a segregationist society. Remember at the recent Love Ulster rally they were talking about setting up a separate bank etc. for Protestants.”

    They already have a credit union. If you go to the USA all sorts of groups have their own banks and support organisations. Lutherans have their own insurance and financial groups, which coincidentally helped fund the Luther film. You have ethnic support groups, you have faith schools.

    There is lots of segrgation everywhere on racial, ethnic, religious and political grounds. I don`t think that will ever disappear. What we can do however is create pluralism, tolerance and respect rqther than the failed secularism which does not seem to work.

  • Brian Boru

    “What do you expect when you have an Assembly based on institutionalised sectarianism an things like parades commissions and residents groups who talk about “our areas” or “loyalist areas” or “nationalist areas” or “catholic areas” or “protestant areas”? ”

    You mean the one that hasn’t sat for 3 years?

  • Paul

    [i]Interesting that you consider the GAA and the OO to be equivalent organisations. Certainly there are similarities, but at least the OO doesn’t pretend to be anything other than it is: Protestant-only.[/i]

    I don’t consider the OO and GAA to be equivalents. I bring up the comparison merely to demonstrate the hypocrisy of the people involved in this campaign against the GAA, many of whom, I have no doubt, would march down areas where the majority do not want them, as members (or supporters) of the OO, an organisation set up on sectarian lines.

    The fact that OO is proudly and openly protestant-only doesn’t make it right. Adding this to the exclusion of Paul Berry for his hotel-room-based massage-fun session gives us an interesting insight into an intolerant, sectarian club.

    I think that the OO’s considerable power within the protestant community could be harnassed for good, and the promotion of tolerance rather than peddling hatred.

  • Mark_Baxter

    Paul, do you have any evidence to back up your claim that OO members are involved or are you just involved in a fine bit of whataboutery?

    Does no one fancy discussing what can be done to stop this? Is there any one group behind the campaign? What kind of numbers are involved? Does anyone here have any on the ground info on ahoghill so that we can get an idea of what the normal residents are (there must be some opposed to it)? Does anyone have any links to reports of police action that has taken place recently against the perpetrators?

    The sectarian mudslinging that has made up the main part of this thread so far is predictably boring, stupid and short-sighted. C’mon folks let deal with the issues at hand instead of trying to score points off each other.

  • Mark_Baxter

    Sorry folks, instead of “so that we can get an idea of what the normal residents are” read

    so that we can get an idea of what the feelings of normal residents are

    late night blogging sucks 😀

  • Mick Fealty

    Good spake Mark. I looked at it before I went to bed and wondered how the Orange Order came to be held responsible (and it seems, by times, for all the ills of the world).

    Re the Orange Order, I do think it is hard for Catholics to get their head around the idea that it certain areas the Orange is a powerful force for good. Notwithstanding the poor PR that its participation in certain events have brought it, its basic ecumenism is also not well understood by people outside the Orange. For good reason too. That ecumenism does not include Catholics, Hindus or Muslims.

    Historically, particularly in rural areas, where a single church (and by extension the parish GAA club) provided substantive social capital in Catholic communities, the Orange has been the only means open to Anglicans, Presbyterian, Methodists and many other denominations to socialise and get together and know and work with each other. In that positive sense there is a parallel between the GAA and the Orange, and it’s is a positive comparison I’ve hear several Orangemen happy to make themselves.

    A thread on the Orange would be a good thing. But this started out on something much more specific and dangerous: a campaign to put Catholics out of their homes in Ahoghill.

    Neither the Orange nor the GAA should be above criticism for the ill effects both will inevitably contribute to in a divided and highly intolerant society. But the tendency we’ve seen in this and other threads to contract the complex details of specific events into an easy and well worn grand narrative (without offering the least evidence) misses the point.

    It also loses us an opportunity to probe the causes and motivations behind a real world situation.

  • darth rumsfeld

    Mick
    that is a very mature addition to this thread, and if everyone followed it you would be shut down inside the week. The sad fact is that people blog here not as deliberate trolls, or even counter-trolls, but because it allows them to get the bile out in a relatively harmless fashion.

    There is another way of preventing the ravings of people like Brian Boru, and that is to simply agree with everything they say, thus leaving them bereft of moan food. So for this week only , and in the spirit of genuine exasperation at the sanctimonious tone of someone who deigns to forgive me for things he believes happened and who calls me a “grafted” Irishman on another thread I, as a representative of the Ulster Protestants say as follows:

    1 yes, you are the Most Oppressed People the world has ever seen (pipe down at the back you Tibetans)
    2 yes, it’s all the fault of us landgrabbing sectarian bigots that Ireland isn’t the world leader in just about every field of industry, culture, tourism, etc Thus we deserved all we got in 16411798, 1919-21, 1956-62, 1969-2005, and any future occasion a bunch of loonies ( sorry, patriots) decide to cull a few of us for getting uppity
    3 yes, we conspired at the famine, the anti-Irish racism, the murder or Oliver Plunkett, and France beating Ireland in the World Cup qualifiers
    4 yes, we really don’t want a fenian about the place- unless of course the place is the servant’s quarters
    5 yes, we know we’re really Irish and we secretly want to learn the language and play Gaelic- it’s just that we’re scared that you could never forgive us and you would treat us- as badly as we treated you(sob), so we pretend to be English
    6 we’re all going to form the biggest Orange procesion of all time and march off the top of Fair Head to certain death. Take all the land back, with our sincere apologies

    OK Brian? Are we done? Now you’ll have to find reasons to grouse about the immigrants, or the Dubs, or trees

  • Mick Fealty

    dr, I doubt it would create a total vacuum.

    If people where happy to talk about what they know, rather than vent spleen on subjects of which they know little or nothing, I imagine it would make their individual contributions more engaging.

    It might also provide space for others to talk about what the rest of us don’t know. If that makes sense?

  • Realist

    “Ya the gaa is so catholic only what with intercounty protestant players, and presidents. I cud name them but id be here all nite”

    ppe,

    How many Protestants were representing Tyrone in the AI final this year?

    How many Protestants currently play inter county football for the six Northern Irish counties?

    In fact, tell us how many Protestants have represented any of the six counties of Northern Ireland in the last 50 years?

  • stu

    Rumsfeld

    I’m getting that printed on a t-shirt. Proceeds to the Paul Berry defence fund.

    On topic- I went up to Agoghill yesterday, didn’t see anyone in GAA shirts, nor in any sports clothes actually. It’s a tiny wee place; I would assume everyone would know each other, therefore it stands to reason that whoever is responsible for this is known. It is disgraceful in this day and age that people are allowed to get away with something like this because good people say nothing.

  • PPE

    Why is it that southern protestants have no problem with playing???? Obviously its not a religious thing is the point im making, while in the north it is. Although one has to admire ppl like willie anderson in dungannon who has no problem with the GAA

  • Realist

    “Why is it that southern protestants have no problem with playing????”

    You raise an interesting question ppe.

    I don’t for one minute believe that the GAA is a religiously sectarian organisation…it’s rules make that abundantly clear.

    The GAA is a nationalist organisation…it’s rules also make that abundantly clear.

    The majority of unionists in NI are classified as Protestant.

    As a unionist, I could not be reasonably expected to subscribe to, and undertake to promote the aims and objectives of a nationalist organisation.

  • 9countyprovence

    Two pages of complaining on possibly the worst posters I’ve seen since God knows when. It’s obviously 10 year olds who stuck them up (Or at least I hope it was 10 year olds, whoever it was has the intelligence of that age group).
    While the whole idea of someone sticking this up is unsavoury, it’s to be expected. Welcome to NI.
    God forbid that they ever learn how to use photo shop or microsoft Paint, then we’d be in trouble….

  • willowfield

    maca

    Rubbish. Of course they do, all the time!

    They don’t. They are clearly a Protestant organisation for Protestants only.

    Interesting that you consider the GAA and the OO to be equivalent organisations. Certainly there are similarities, but at least the OO doesn’t pretend to be anything other than it is: Protestant-only.

    Paul

    I don’t consider the OO and GAA to be equivalents.

    Well, you used the OO as a comparator for the GAA!

    The fact that OO is proudly and openly protestant-only doesn’t make it right.

    Nor does the fact the GAA is proudly and not-so-openly Catholic/nationalist-only make it right.

    I think that the OO’s considerable power within the protestant community could be harnassed for good, and the promotion of tolerance rather than peddling hatred.

    Ditto GAA.

  • Willow
    “They don’t.”

    They do.

    “They are clearly a Protestant organisation for Protestants only.”

    They pretend to be more than that.

    “Interesting that you consider the GAA and the OO to be equivalent organisations”

    Interesting that there appears to be something wrong with your eyesight. Can you quote where I said they are equivalent organisations?

  • Brian Boru

    At least the GAA doesn’t ban its members from marrying Protestants/Unionists. True, it is a nationalist organisation, but that doesn’t make it sectarian.

    “2 yes, it’s all the fault of us landgrabbing sectarian bigots that Ireland isn’t the world leader in just about every field of industry, culture, tourism, etc Thus we deserved all we got in 16411798, 1919-21, 1956-62, 1969-2005, and any future occasion a bunch of loonies ( sorry, patriots) decide to cull a few of us for getting uppity ”

    Darth, I reject your apparent attempt to cast 1798 and the later dates as simply Catholics killing Protestants. 22,000 people took part in the rebellion in Down and Antrim for example, mostly Protestant. Also, the stories about supposed massacres in the rebellion in the South were often fabricated or grossly exaggerated. And in any case, many of those killed in massacres were those who gave the orders before the rebellion to burn Catholic churches, rape Catholic women, and burn Irish people alive. A particular example of such propaganda was the claim in 4th July 1798 by the British rumour-mill that the entire Protestant population of Enniscorthy had been massacred. In fact this was before the rebellion and not one of them had been massacred. Also, the government spread rumours that the United Irishmen took an Oath “..that I will burn, destroy and murder all heretics up to my knees in blood”. At the time of 1798 these rumours appeared in newspapers as part of a campaign of lies by the British government designed to damage Protestant support for the rebels especially in the North. The Orange Order is an important part of spreading distortions similar to this today, in which 1798 is portrayed simply as Catholics massacring Protestants. The infamous Scullabogue massacre in which 100 Loyalists were killed in Co.Wexford, only happened after 3,400 rebels were massacred in New Ross by the Loyalist yeomanry. Even the Loyalist historian Rev. James Gordon said after the Battle of New Ross that “I have reason to think more men than fell in battle were slain in cold blood”. Many houses were also set on fire and people were burnt alive. So to present events as simply Catholics killing Protestants for the sake of it is just more nonsense and with all due respect, you seem to be falling into the trap of misinterpreting history and believing a propagandised version of history. The majority of Protestants killed by the rebels were landlords who were involved in killings of innocent people so it was tit-for-tat. Some Protestants were actually involved in ordering such killings of Loyalists suspected of being informers, such as Hugh McKee. After the Battle of Antrim, the British forces also burnt people alive in the town. So it is a myth that 1798 was simply Catholics killing Protestants.

    A central part of Orange mythology is to present there stay since the plantation as one based on Catholics being a threat to them (all Catholics). As a supposed threat the Catholics have to be kept down, and hence steps towards equality such as creating a representative police-force are not on with them. It is common to hear Loyalist pressure-groups and politicians to complain that “we have lost the RUC, UDR, B-Specials etc.” What they really mean is that they have lost their monopoly over policing and tools to harrass the Catholics with. The UDR were involved in the Miami showband killings and in the Seamus Ludlow murder in Co.Louth. Perhaps some Unionists are not aware of this, or prefer to ignore it for anti-Catholic reasons. People are entitled to equality irrespective of religion, and citing events hundreds of years ago to justify discrimination is extremely backward-looking and depressing.

    On 1919-21, that was a war of independence and as you should know many Protestants in border counties were involved with the UVF. They fought with the Old IRA and in any war you get refugees. But Protestants were also involved in the Old IRA e.g. Ernest Blythe, so again portraying the War of Independence as some giant pogrom against Protestants is another crime against history and it is high time that the facts came through instead of being distorted to stir up hostility to Catholics.

  • Brian Boru

    Willowfield, considering that Sam Maguire and others were high-profile members of the GAA your casting of it as “Catholic” is unfair. Jack Boothman, former GAA president, was a Protestant too. I think you should reconsider your classification of them in that context.

  • Brian Boru

    “Re the Orange Order, I do think it is hard for Catholics to get their head around the idea that it certain areas the Orange is a powerful force for good. Notwithstanding the poor PR that its participation in certain events have brought it, its basic ecumenism is also not well understood by people outside the Orange. For good reason too. That ecumenism does not include Catholics, Hindus or Muslims.

    Historically, particularly in rural areas, where a single church (and by extension the parish GAA club) provided substantive social capital in Catholic communities, the Orange has been the only means open to Anglicans, Presbyterian, Methodists and many other denominations to socialise and get together and know and work with each other. In that positive sense there is a parallel between the GAA and the Orange, and it’s is a positive comparison I’ve hear several Orangemen happy to make themselves. ”

    Mick, I have no criticism of an organisation promoting social-interaction. The problem I and others have with the OO is its refusal to let its members marry Catholics, which I consider sectarian, together with their historic role in sectarian violence against the Catholic community. I cannot understand the kind of mindset that cannot even accept slight re-routements away from Catholic areas and instead attacks Catholics or the police in an effort to force their way through. It is notable that the 121 or so Hibernian parades abide by the rulings of the Parades Commission e.g. in Kilkeel, and it would be nice if the Orangement could learn to live with the re-routements of only around 112 of their 2,550 marches, of which only 12 are banned outright judging by PSNI website statistics. It has an aggressive and hostile image to most Catholics and its refusal to even talk to some of the Residents groups e.g. Drumcree, only reinforces this. If the OO wants to march down the Garvaghy Road then they should enter a dialogue with these residents instead of just dismissing them all as Provo fellow-travellers.

    I believe that the instituional anti-Catholicism of the OO legitimises in the minds of some people their supposed right to burn Catholics out of their home. They could play a role in reducing such tension if they would change their ways as I have suggested. I have no problem with them remaining a political-organisation. The problem is the religious element which seems to me designed to encourage segregation and a them and us mindset.

  • P Ring

    GAA tops: I’m a huge fan of the GAA. An amazing community organisation invoking healthy competition with little of the institutionalised aggro that has been associated with soccer in the past…etc Prods aren’t fond but that’s for another day. I’m Armagh through and through. Always followed them, family members turned out for the county etc…I would never in a fit wear one of their tops however. Nasty man-made fibres, a pukey artificial orange colour that if it was Nederlands orange or even, dare I say it,O.O. orange, might be alright… And other counties often have the same problem…Point I’m making here is that Ahoghill people musthave sartorial standards to maintain as well.
    Maybe ‘Antrim saffron’ in polyvinyl acrylic nylon was a step too far for some tasteful grousebeater….

  • bluedemon

    Jack Boothman and Sam Maguire are often trotted out as proof that the GAA is non sectarian. However the GAA is a coldhouse for prods in the Republic as well as Northern Ireland.

    I never heard of any other southern prod apart from Jack Boothman being involved in the GAA.

  • The Lush

    Bluedemmon,

    I just can’t let you away with that uneducated comment. If you care to have a look at the GAA you will find people playing of all races and religions. Jason Sherlock and Sean Og to name two. Take a trip to Cork lad, what you will see is black kids wearing that disgusting rebel top. Black kids going down the road with hurl’s.
    In fact in order to show you how non-sectarian the GAA is I offer to bring you on a Sunday to Sar’s hurling club in the city after that if you still think it is sectarian then fair enough. If you are interested post up you email address and we will go from there.

  • Realist

    The GAA is not religiously sectarian.

    If the definition of sectarian extends to allienating a swathe of (Irish) people who have a unionist political outlook, then it is undoubtedly sectarian.

  • Bluedemon
    “However the GAA is a coldhouse for prods in the Republic as well as Northern Ireland.”

    Rubbish. If you had any experience of the GAA you’d know this is untrue.

  • bluedemon

    I find it interesting that when I mentioned sectarianism in the GAA I got claims back that the GAA is not racist.

    I never claimed the GAA is racist. I doubt if it is.

    I did not include my real email address because I have already firsthand experience of GAA bigotry and have no wish to experience any more.

  • Realist,

    Most GAA players/followers will understand your point, some will argue that they never take any notice or have heard of rules/regulations that cause people like yourself to stay away from Gaelic games. Perhaps there is scope for change, but it will have to come from within as well as from without. You say the GAA alienates you because of its nationalist ethos. The GAA alienates a lot of people who have no time for sport of any kind, it means no offence. It is there for people interested in playing its games, and hopefully to acquire interest in Irish culture etc. I could aruge that Polo alienates me as i am working-class and have socialist leanings. However, if i was interested in playing Polo, i wouldn’t let my politics get in the way of it. Are you tempted to play Gaelic but can’t because of the nationalist trappings or can’t even think of it until those trappings are gone? I can tell you its only if your interested in playing Gaelic that you will be picked to play in the local team, not if you’re interested in changing the ethos or have a huge interest in the current ethos, just if you want to play the game. Do you or others you know want to play? You could start a GAA team, how about the Shankill Wyclefs, Carrickfergus Wellingtons, Larne Carsons of Ballymena Luthers? The GAA will not change to accomodate those who have no interest in playing its sports, it might for those already doing so…

  • Realist

    cladycowboy,

    Many unionists like and play Soccer (God, I hate that word!)

    Many unionists like and play Rugby…incidently, a sport organised on a 4 provinces/32 county basis on this island, which should tell the GAA something!

    A miniscule amount of unionists (if any) are members of the GAA.

    I played and support both soccer and rugby, but have hung the boots up due to not being a spring chicken anymore.

    Do you think that is because unionists dislike the concept of team ball sports, with nets and posts etc….or, do you think that the xenophobic, nationalist political sentiment which permeates the fabric of the GAA (most notably evident in it’s “Official Guide”) alienates 20% of the island’s inhabitants of a unionist political outlook?

    The question is, does the will exist WITHIN the GAA to drop the politics, thus not excluding 20% of the island’s inhabitants?

    If the GAA wishes to remain a quasi political nationalist organisation, that’s fine.

    If it wishes to be a dynamic for Gaelic Games and pastimes being enjoyed by all shades of Irish men, women and children, it needs to radically change it’s ethos from within.

    On other threads I have offered up various suggestions as to how this might happen.

    If/When the divisive political crap is dropped, I will gladly join my local GAA club.

    I suspect I would not be the only unionist to do so.

  • Realist

    “I never claimed the GAA is racist. I doubt if it is.”

    Unfortunately the GAA does.

    It’s “Official Guide” contains the following sentiments:

    “If pride in the attributes of nationhood dies, something good and distinctive in OUR RACE dies with it”

    What “race”???

  • Realist
    “God, I hate that word”

    Why? It’s an English word isn’t it? Comes directly from “Association Soccer”.

    “What “race”???”

    100m hurdles.

  • Hi Realist,

    Ok, you’ve mentioned the ‘Official guide’ again. I’ve never seen or indeed heard of this until the threads you mention. It has played no part in mine or i imagine the overwhelming majority of GAA players/supporters throughout Ireland/Britain. It may have mattered more years ago to those founding local parish clubs and if it helped create the great GAA championships we have today then i’m not going to batter down the doors to have it removed but to me its an irrelevance and there is no need for the average GAA player to know of it and that is the case of it.

    I presume you are a white,male,heterosexual Northern Ireland supporter with a white collar job. You are many things that you’ll agree are not discriminated against when it comes to GAA yet you define yourself as none of the above but merely ‘unionist’ and so you say can’t play GAA.

    What did women’s golfers do when they were discriminated by thier sex by the PGA, they founded their own PGA, and nowadays women are not banned from the PGA and its male dominated ethos is being dismantled. This is the way forward. You can’t ask the GAA to change a lot of itself, an alienating some followers in the hope that newer followers can be brought into it when there doesn’t seem to be a market for a new GAA. Where are the non-affiliated Gaelic football teams waiting to join a revamped GAA? You ask for a huge gamble that could weaken the GAA. The GAA championships now are hugely popular, in all honesty, as far as the GAA and gate receipts, popular appeal and merchandise are concerned there is no need for change. Why change when it may have less crowds and players than before? Let the Gaelic/Hurling playing players of a unionist outlook who won’t join the GAA set up some teams, play a league and show the GAA that you are serious about this and not just out to bring about the downfall of the presently hugely popular enterprise.
    You’ve mentioned something similar about NI supporters, you’d only change to accomodate those who will support NI, not those who want NI destroyed.
    If you joined your local club as a young lad, you would notice like i did zero political trappings, no flags/anthemns are played, no political lectures after, just togging out to play Gaelic football…rather badly, but having the joy of Tyrone in adulthood tear apart the rest of the country!

  • Realist

    cladycowboy,

    “You ask for a huge gamble that could weaken the GAA. The GAA championships now are hugely popular, in all honesty, as far as the GAA and gate receipts, popular appeal and merchandise are concerned there is no need for change. Why change when it may have less crowds and players than before?”

    How exactly would removing the divisive and exclusionist political rhetoric from the Association’s constitution,”weaken” the GAA, and result in less crowds and players?

    Would it not actually strengthen it?

    By the way, the Rules themselves make it abundantly clear that your ignorance of them is no defence…you are “deemed to have full knowledge” of them and, indeed, are “bound” by them…Rule 22, I believe.

    Besides, discussion at Congress about certain rules tends to create a furore.

    I debate on that basis.

  • Concerned Loyalist

    I have been told that locals believe this is a campaign by North Antrim republicans to heighten tensions in the village. I am taking the word of reliable sources on this matter as I don’t know any local Ahoghill residents personally.

    I was at the local flute band’s parade on September 7th however, and found the general feeling of the bandsmen and the spectators to be that of frustration. They feel that the media are working to a nationalist agenda and are portraying EVERY Ahoghill Protestant as bitter, sectarian and backward-thinking, when this is clearly the exception and NOT the rule…

  • Paddy Matthews

    I never heard of any other southern prod apart from Jack Boothman being involved in the GAA.

    I can think of several off the top of my head in my own small corner of the country – the chairman of the neighbouring club to ours and his sons who played for that club, the treasurer of another neighbouring club (formerly a long-time player), a current county player in my own county.

  • ballymena villager

    People need to stop judging towns, villages and communities on the actions of a select few who are obviously either under the age of 13, or are severly uneducated and alien to the wonder of computers.

    I’m more concerned about racist leaflets being placed on my car while parked at a local shopping centre in ballymena. YOU are infringing on my anglo rights, YOU are more than likely bleeding the welfare and social security systems dry. NOT THE POLISH/LITHUIAN WORKERS keeping O’Kanes, etc afloat. If YOU got off your backside and got a job, they wouldn’t bee needed to keep our local economy going.

    GET OFF YOUR BACKSIDE, SPEND LESS TIME INFRONT OF A COMPUTER MAKING SILLY LITTLE POSTERS THAT NO1 WISHES TO SEE, NEVER MIND BEING PLACED ON THEIR CAR, AND GET A f**k*** JOB.

    PS – The little girl (placed on the poster) who’s future the “immigrants” are steeling, probably would have become a heroin addict since your community would never have encouraged her to be anything else.

  • bluedemon

    Paddy your experiences are very different to mine. I rarely attend church now. A Christian church I attended in the past with 15-20 families in a GAA area did not have a single person interested in gaelic games. Opinions varied from indifference to hostility. I am glad the GAA in your part of the country are more tolerant.

    A family member is involved in Irish Dancing which in contrast has no religous or political trappings despite also promoting Irish culture. The GAA has too many powerful friends though so any problems are still a taboo subject.

  • Realist,

    The GAA is not weakened by altering its ethos. The GAA ‘could be weakened’ if some players/supporters leave it because of these alterations, as i already mentioned, lots of local clubs were founded by people interested in culture as well as sports, although todays players aren’t so motivated. Now the case is the GAA could make alterations to its ethos and NOT be weakened if there was a market of players/supporters ready to fill any potential void created by people leaving the present GAA. The fact is, and you haven’t addressed this once despite my prompting, is that there are no non-GAA affiliated hurling and Gaelic teams playing who are waiting for the GAA ethos to be altered so they can join the mainstream body. Hence my assertion still stands that the GAA, through lessening of players and supporters could be weakened, as there is not the people needed ready to come in and sustain its current vitality.

    ‘Would it not actually strengthen it?’

    Certainly…if there was players/teams/supporters already formulated waiting to join immediately, otherwise its a gamble that might detract from its current success. Unionists need to start playing Gaelic games in leagues set up by themselves and then pressurise the GAA to change so they can join.

    ‘By the way, the Rules themselves make it abundantly clear that your ignorance of them is no defence…you are “deemed to have full knowledge” of them and, indeed, are “bound” by them…Rule 22, I believe’

    Well i may be deemed to know but i say now that i don’t and i’ve never been asked questions as to whether i do know and its never come into the equation, not hard to live with really..

    Why let a book that most GAA people either never heard of or read stand in the way of you playing a sport?
    My best comparison i can offer is when i was a scout in London. Every week as patrol leader i was to unfurl the Union jack,salute it and swear allegiance to the British queen and the scout handbook was very in keeping with that sentiment. I did the salute with my eyes closed and then took part in the activities that scouting entailed, all great fun. A few minutes of unwelcome ‘patriotism’ before i got to play football, learn survival skills and go camping. If i as a republican can do that then anyone interested in playing hurling/gaelic can play those sports even in the knowledge that some book that no-one reads is in existence- they won’t have to salute the tricolour every week and swear allegiance to Bertie Ahern!

  • Realist

    cladyboy,

    “The fact is, and you haven’t addressed this once despite my prompting, is that there are no non-GAA affiliated hurling and Gaelic teams playing who are waiting for the GAA ethos to be altered so they can join the mainstream body.”

    Ok…let’s agree that this adult generation of unionists are not all going to become GAA players overnight – At least I’m not at age of 43!

    Let me turn it around.

    What are the GAA doing to introduce their Association and games to unionist schoolchildren?

    What assistance/support do they give to one of the largest Irish Dancing classes in Northern Ireland…on the Shankill Road?

    In short, what are they doing to promote themselves to the next unionist generation with the potential to grow up without the perceptions that we may have of it?

    On another current thread we are alerted to an an excellent piece by Jarlath Burns in today’s Daily Ireland…he talks of the “behind closed doors” cheering of Armagh’s victory in 2002 in the loyalist estates of Portadown.

    Does this not tell you that many unionists are not against the games, but are against the myopic political rhetoric that lies behind it?

  • Paddy Matthews

    A Christian church I attended in the past with 15-20 families in a GAA area did not have a single person interested in gaelic games. Opinions varied from indifference to hostility. I am glad the GAA in your part of the country are more tolerant.

    Bluedemon, the area I’m referring to is close enough to the border.

    You state that the members of your church had opinions to the GAA which ranged “from indifference to hostility”. That tells us about the attitudes of the members of the church. What it doesn’t do is tell us anything about the attitudes of the local GAA.

  • Brian Boru

    I agree that naming GAA grounds after Provo murderers and terrorists is just not on. But I will not criticise naming them after members of the Old IRA which bravely drove the Brit army out of the 26 counties, whose sacrifice brought about the Celtic Tiger we now see.

    And the inclusion on Orange marches of banners of Oliver Cromwell are equally offensive imho as naming GAA grounds after Provos.

  • Realist

    “And the inclusion on Orange marches of banners of Oliver Cromwell are equally offensive imho as naming GAA grounds after Provos.”

    Why the constant comparisons between the GAA and the OO?

    In a discussion on another Board earlier this week I was told by a GAA supporter that he had never seen or heard of any GAA member/supporter compare the GAA with the OO, as most GAA folk would consider that comparison “offensive”.

    You’re comparing apples with pears (or oranges, as the case may be.

    Direct comparison with the OO would be the AOH.

    Good comparison with the GAA would be the IRFU.

  • bluedemon

    Paddy I am talking about a place a long way from the border. Attitudes are harder along the border I always thought but I never lived there. I live in a different place now. I think it is a problem with the GAA. The flags and anthems issue for northern unionists is not a stumbling block for me. The GAA use my flag and anthem. In fact they abuse them.

  • “Why the constant comparisons between the GAA and the OO?”

    Two one-community organisations with limited or no support in the other community.

  • Paddy Matthews

    Bluedemon,

    To be honest I’m no wiser than ever from your reply as to what exactly it was that the local GAA had/has done to earn the “indifference to hostility” that it received from your fellow church members. As I said, there doesn’t seem to be that hostility in the area (30 minutes drive from the border) where I come from.

    If they were strict Sabbatarians then I might understand why they might feel that a barrier to participation. As a matter of interest, what sort of church were you attending? Mainline denomination, Gospel hall, new evangelical church? I ask because most of the Protestants I’m aware of being involved would be CofI.

  • A protestant living next door to me at home is a life long Cats fan.

  • bluedemon

    The local or national GAA seems to me to be a monocultural organisation for Roman Catholics only. I know quite a few members of the Church of Ireland none of which to my knowledge have any involvement in the GAA. I know many Roman Catholics who are also hostile to the GAA. The reasons being the various political rules and opposition to so called foreign games.

    The sabbath observance is a problem for some but this also applies to the IRFU and every other sporting organisation in the country. I see the GAA as being rooted in the Roman Catholic parish with all the trimmings like special masses.

  • ‘ The reasons being the various political rules ‘

    What rules?

  • Bluedeomn
    “seems to me” is the important part, it most certainly isn’t fact.

    Opposition to foreign games? Tennis, badmington, squash, athletics – all foreign games played on GAA grounds for decades. Soon you’ll see soccer & rugby in Croker.

    I see the GAA as being rooted in the Roman Catholic parish with all the trimmings like special masses.”

    Important part highlighted again.

  • Paddy Matthews

    Bluedemon,

    Your answer still doesn’t tell me anything about what the local GAA actually did to offend you.

    The local or national GAA seems to me to be a monocultural organisation for Roman Catholics only. I know quite a few members of the Church of Ireland none of which to my knowledge have any involvement in the GAA.

    I’ve pointed out to you that I know quite a few who are involved (and others who seem to have no problems with going to matches) so I would suggest that you might want to broaden your horizons at some future stage.

    Your answer is all about your perception of the GAA and its associations with Roman Catholics – in most of the south it’s going to be hard avoiding associations with Roman Catholics when they make up 90% of the population.

    I see the GAA as being rooted in the Roman Catholic parish with all the trimmings like special masses.

    What special masses? Is it obligatory for members of the GAA to attend them? Do you have to wait for the special Mass to be over before you can start a match? If it is, someone should have told me.

    In areas which are 90% Catholic, then it’s likely that the focus of community organisation for a lot of organisations apart from the GAA is going to be Catholic parishes. For one thing, local primary schools, associated with those Catholic parishes are going to provide a common focus for people to interact or to get to know each other. (In a lot of cases, too, the boundaries of Catholic and Church of Ireland parishes will be the same.)

  • Realist,

    ‘What are the GAA doing to introduce their Association and games to unionist schoolchildren?’

    With clarification you have a point. I take it you mean Protestant schoolchildren at state schools instead of ‘unionist schoolchildren’ as it really would be depressing if 5yr olds are ‘unionist’ before they can spell it.

    I would like to see the GAA reaching out to state schools and think your recommendation entirely valid. I don’t know why the GAA don’t (if indeed they don’t) set up clubs at state schools, but it would certainly help in expanding the base of players and followers. Firstly, i joined the GAA through the local club and not through the school (though i later played for the school club) so theoretically there is nothing stopping Protestants setting up clubs outside of the schooling system.
    Secondly, would parents want the GAA setting up in state schools at present? It would only entail playing the sport and no other obligation as it was for us catholic schoolchildren. We learned nothing of politics or the GAA history before we started to play. Protestant children would not encounter any political/nationalistic matters before playing a game of Gaelic football, but would the parents allow it? If not, why not? They would be putting their own prejudice on their children who only see a game to be played and enjoyed if they did object.

    ‘What assistance/support do they give to one of the largest Irish Dancing classes in Northern Ireland…on the Shankill Road? ‘

    I wasn’t aware of this class. I don’t know if there is GAA support, i don’t know if the class has asked for GAA support. I’d like to see support given if that is the GAA system and see no reason why they would refuse, if asked (if its GAA protocol).

    ‘In short, what are they doing to promote themselves to the next unionist generation with the potential to grow up without the perceptions that we may have of it?’

    Indeed bringing it to state schools is a foundation. It is set up in Universities and so is reaching out somewhat.It would argue that it is an open-house and all are welcome as we speak and its not Protestant children that are put off playing GAA but the self-imposed ban on it by their ‘unionist’ parents. If the GAA sets up in state schools its a step forward but it appears that the ‘schooling’ the children receive from their parents has more far-reaching consequences. It would be hoped that Protestant children will grow up loving playing the games long before their local unionist councillor tells them of a guide book they’ve never seen should mean they don’t play the games.

    ‘On another current thread we are alerted to an an excellent piece by Jarlath Burns in today’s Daily Ireland…he talks of the “behind closed doors” cheering of Armagh’s victory in 2002 in the loyalist estates of Portadown’

    If this is true or rather not quoting the exception to the norm then it is truly heart-warming. However, Burns believes that the GAA shouldn’t change. The fact that they obviously felt scared to cheer in public says more about the local loyalist hardman’s grip on what the locals can say or do,than the GAA though.

    ‘Does this not tell you that many unionists are not against the games, but are against the myopic political rhetoric that lies behind it? ‘

    If those scenes were true then yes it shows the potential for ‘unionist’ involvement in the GAA. However, what do you mean by ‘behind it’? The capacity Croker crowd were there to watch a game of Gaelic and nothing more, when Armagh won, they lifted a cup, they didn’t start up a covenant to unify Ireland. If the guideline book, that no-one reads, is removed the GAA will still have been founded by Irish nationalists (Protestant and Catholic) to promote Gaelic pastimes and so will always be ‘behind it’.

    The GAA, like many of its current followers, would like to see Irish sports and culture promoted and for the islands people to take pride in their Irishness. The GAA is not xenophobic to promote this.

    What did you think of my boy scout story? Do you not think i had to stifle my political beliefs more than a unionist hurler would have to? and nobody calls the scouts myopic or xenophobic!

  • Brian Boru

    “Why the constant comparisons between the GAA and the OO?

    In a discussion on another Board earlier this week I was told by a GAA supporter that he had never seen or heard of any GAA member/supporter compare the GAA with the OO, as most GAA folk would consider that comparison “offensive”.

    You’re comparing apples with pears (or oranges, as the case may be. ”

    I am making the comparison because sections of Loyalism choose to do the same. In response to Catholics protesting against the Orange marches, sometimes Loyalists have protested with “No consent to sectarian Gaelic games” banners or accused the GAA of being “sectarian” in a manner that is clearly retaliatory to the Orange Order being criticised or protested against by Catholics.

    Regarding the IRFU, that is different because it has no political ethos, unlike the GAA. Organisations are only sectarian in my view if they explicitly deny entry to those based on religion or ethnic-group, which the GAA does not. The OO is a segregationist society – unlike the GAA – and I stand by what I have said.

  • Realist

    cladycowboy,

    Cladyboy,

    “I would like to see the GAA reaching out to state schools and think your recommendation entirely valid. I don’t know why the GAA don’t (if indeed they don’t) set up clubs at state schools, but it would certainly help in expanding the base of players and followers.”

    No need to even establish clubs. A bit of outward PR in state schools, would be admirable…an introduction to the games? If the kids like what they see, they can go on and join any number of clubs.

    Let me give you an suggestion…my son (11) is in his final year at Primary school. For the last 4 years, he has visited (twice a year) an Irish speaking, Gaelic playing school near Castlewellan in Co Down. This is part of the commendable “cross community” efforts by both schools to teach the children respect for diversity.

    These events are replicated by schools all over Northern Ireland.

    When visiting the school near Castlewellan, my fella tells me that the kids’ there are “all into their gaelic”, “but they do quite like Celtic too” lol.

    Would it be an idea for someone from the GAA (perhaps a teacher at the school) during one of the visits, give the state school kids a wee chat about the GAA, and perhaps arranged a brief “practical” introduction to the games?

    Nothing to lose there, I’d say…and plenty to gain.

    (PS: My money would be on the Castlewellan weans!)

    I know that similar things do happen, but the GAA do not seem to be reaching out.

    A Cross Community Development Officer perhaps??

    “What did you think of my boy scout story? Do you not think i had to stifle my political beliefs more than a unionist hurler would have to? and nobody calls the scouts myopic or xenophobic!”

    I attend Ireland rugby internationals regularly, and for many years was a member of an IRFU affiliated Club.

    The trappings at internationals include those of the Soldiers Song and Tricolor.

    No myopic political rhetoric invades the IRFU constitution.

    What in the name of good God has rhetoric like “Ireland’s claim to nationhood is impaired” got to do with sport?

    That is divisive political rhetoric.

    If it’s irrelevant, get it removed tomorrow.

    Whilst things like that exist within the GAA’s fabric, I cannot support it.

    Spot the difference?

  • Brian Boru

    Realist that is your right, but it would still be wrong to say that the GAA’s rules amount to a bar on Protestants joining. Billy Leonard could join for example. As could have Issac Butt, Parnell or other Protestant Irish nationalists. Having a political ethos is not the same as excluding people on the basis of their religion and you should realise the difference.

  • Realist

    Brian Boru,

    With the greatest of respect, I have stated on several occassions that I do not believe the GAA to be a religiously sectarian organisation.

    I am well aware that many Protestants have and do belong to the GAA.

    If you wish to debate with me on the matter, please do so from a footing of having your facts straight.

    Thank You.

  • John East Belfast

    cladycowboy

    what is all this about expanding GAA to state schools ?

    No thank you and it has got nothing to do with it being Irish and I am a unionist etc – each to their own.

    But what is the point of the GAA ?

    Fine – people enjoy playing and watching it which I know is as good as a reason as any.

    However I have two sons at State school – one playing Rugby and the other hockey – and I wish they both played football !

    But they both love the sports they play so why introduce another.

    especially considering that the biggest events on the world national sporting stage are Football World and European Cups and Rugby World cups.

    What does GAA have outside Ireland ? – Did they not get a hammering by the Australians recently -forgive my ignorance if I am wrong.

    IMHO Irish sport is shredded enough meaning that we end up being mediocre at everything – we should take a leaf out of the New Zealanders.

    Therefore other than some kind of PC why on earth would we introduce GAA to Protestant State schools ?

    Anyhow as I said earlier what is the point of GAA ?

    I just don’t get it ?

    Sport should ultimately be about competing on the world stage – GAA won’t ever do that.

  • Realist,

    ‘No need to even establish clubs. A bit of outward PR in state schools, would be admirable…an introduction to the games? If the kids like what they see, they can go on and join any number of clubs.’

    I’d whole-heartedly endorse this but go further and say clubs should be set up (if there is a demand for playing) in schools where maybe the local GAA club is a fair bit away.
    The crux of the matter is really this, if your 11 yr old takes a shine to Gaelic football on his next trip to Castlewellan and wants to join a local club, are you going to encourage his interest or persuade him not to?

    ‘A Cross Community Development Officer perhaps??’

    Yes agree, but would name them ‘State school development officer’

    ‘What in the name of good God has rhetoric like “Ireland’s claim to nationhood is impaired” got to do with sport?’

    I guess nothing with playing Hurling but what has ‘I swear allegiance to Elizabeth,our Queen and her successors’ got to do with learning a reef knot?!
    While i understand your unease i can’t whole-heartedly back complete removal of these sentiments when these sentiments have helped give us the great championships we have today.
    I could overlook the monarchial sentiments that i PERSONALLY had to state in order to be a scout, could you not overlook the GAA guidebook,especially as you won’t have to quote from it every week?
    Maybe thats the difference…

    p.s why ‘cladyboy’? :-{

    John East Belfast

    ‘But what is the point of the GAA ?’

    ..to score more points than the other team ;}

    ‘But they both love the sports they play so why introduce another.’

    John, variety is the spice of life, i’m sure everyone loved BBC1 but were happy that BBC2 and UTV came along!

    ‘Therefore other than some kind of PC why on earth would we introduce GAA to Protestant State schools ? ‘

    The GAA is currently in very vibrant form, it would be hoped that bringing the games to a wider audience would help provide future dynamism which how Black and Asian London schoolchildren are playing it.

    ‘Sport should ultimately be about competing on the world stage – GAA won’t ever do that’

    How many ordinary people get to do that? Sport is about enjoying yourself and staying fit and healthy, Tyrone victories over Kerry and Armagh was as sweet if not more than Ireland beating England in the six nations for me.

    Its nothing to be fearful of..

  • John East Belfast

    cladycowboy

    I wasn’t being flippant when asking what is the point of the GAA and I only raised it because you suggested my sons spending few hours a week doing so

    Considering that nobody else on the planet (I am sure you can find a few so please dont !) and our TV screens are filled with football and rugby, not to mention a host of other sports, then GAA must be about more than sport for it to command such a following among, let’s face it, the Catholic and Nationalist Irish ?

    Therefore why introduce it to largely Protestant and Unionist children which will further weaken Northern Ireland’s lamentable position on the world sporting stage ?

  • JEB
    John honestly!

    “what is all this about expanding GAA to state schools ?”

    Get more young kids involved in sports which are fun to play. Plus to improve community relations in NI.

    “But what is the point of the GAA ?”

    To promote Gaelic sports & culture.

    “But they both love the sports they play so why introduce another.”

    Because they (or others) might enjoy Gaelic or hurling more. They are fun games to play.

    “What does GAA have outside Ireland?”

    Clubs all over Europe, in Britain, the US, Canada, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand and in Asia.

    “Did they not get a hammering by the Australians recently”

    Yes, in International Rules. And Ireland won the previous year.

    “IMHO Irish sport is shredded enough meaning that we end up being mediocre at everything – we should take a leaf out of the New Zealanders.”

    So lets give up EVERY sport and only play table tennis so we can be good at it. Makes sense.

    “Therefore other than some kind of PC why on earth would we introduce GAA to Protestant State schools ?”

    Protestant state schools?
    Why? Because they are good sports, plus it might help to improve community relations in NI.

    “Sport should ultimately be about competing on the world stage”

    99.9999% of us will never compete on the world stage. The odds are againt your kids doing so. In fact next time your kids go outside to kick ball you should probably tell them to cop on and get back inside and watch some tv or sumthin.

    Sports are about enjoying yourself and staying healthy.

    “GAA won’t ever do that.”

    I guess you missed the Ladies Gaelic Football International Tournament in September. Or the Asian Gaelic Games which are in their 10th year … or the Handball world championships which are every 3 years, maybe you could go to the World Championship in Canada next August.

  • John East Belfast,

    I didn’t think you were being flippant and hope you didn’t think my answer to you was such. Also, i’m not suggesting your sons should be compelled to play it, just that its on offer if wanted. When i moved to London at age 12 i had to play hockey like your son, which i had never done before, i was in the school team as defender within 6 weeks, must be the hurling genes coming through!

    ‘then GAA must be about more than sport for it to command such a following among, let’s face it, the Catholic and Nationalist Irish ?’

    There are other seperate aspects to the GAA like language and cultural activities but when it comes to sport its just the love of the games that compels people to play/watch. America has its own brand of football that no-one else plays,so why can’t we?
    The fact that its generally not played by Protestants (in NI) is why i and Realist suggest that GAA should be marketed in state schools, it hasn’t been in the past so that helps explain why its mostly Catholic children (in NI) who play it.

    As for Northern Irelands world chances, well it might ‘harden up’ a few of the soccer players and that might help them overcome the opposition!

    Fundamentally, its about pride of place and home, we both use places in our names suggesting a pride in Clady and East Belfast, joining the GAA hepled me to play and represent my parish/village. If i was a soccer man, i’d be following the money and representing the city that paid me the most, which is why our greatest soccer player enthralled Manchester and not East Belfast where he hailed from.

    PS Antrim and Down only need a few more decent hurlers to break through for the all-ireland so we’ll take all that east belfast can give us to represent ulster ;}

  • bluedemon

    Jack Boothman had to attend the special masses. You don’t have to attend I admit but maybe invite the local rector or minister or pastor to do the honours next time.

    Somebody mentioned they had to close their eyes and grit their teeth during the British national anthem and standing for the British flag because they really wanted to be in the scouts. They suggest doing likewise. I won’t bother. I have played minority sports and enjoy watching more mainstream sports. I don’t think I’m missing much by skipping the GAA.

    The differences with Irish Dancing is that there are no political and religious trappings with the organisations that promote Irish dancing. It is open to everyone and nobody has to grit their teeth and close their eyes to enjoy Riverdance.

  • Paddy Matthews

    Jack Boothman had to attend the special masses. You don’t have to attend I admit but maybe invite the local rector or minister or pastor to do the honours next time.

    Once again, Bluedemon, I have no idea what these special Masses are that Jack Boothman was forced to attend and you’re not exactly being too specific about details.

    If it’s of any interest to you, our local county grounds were re-opened this September with a dedication in the middle of the County senior final by a local Catholic priest and the local (female) Church of Ireland rector. She seems to be another local Protestant who doesn’t share your problems with the GAA.

    Somebody mentioned they had to close their eyes and grit their teeth during the British national anthem and standing for the British flag because they really wanted to be in the scouts. They suggest doing likewise. I won’t bother.

    A while back in this conversation, you said that:

    The flags and anthems issue for northern unionists is not a stumbling block for me. The GAA use my flag and anthem. In fact they abuse them.

    You seem to be contradicting yourself here.

    I’m genuinely at a loss as to what exactly your problems are with the GAA because, to be honest, I get the impression that you’re not being entirely forthright.

    Again, you said this earlier in the conversation:

    I did not include my real email address because I have already firsthand experience of GAA #### and have no wish to experience any more.

    That’s a fairly strong statement to make – I assume the blanked-out word is ‘h a t e’. I’ve asked you a couple of times now what exactly it was that the local GAA did to you and I’m getting no answer.

  • John East Belfast

    Maca & Cladycowboy

    Fair enough I cant disagree with your sentiments.

    Interestingly you bring up American Football – that sums up exactly the view I would take of GAA being introduced in a structured way to ‘protestant’ school children

    ie what on earth would be the point of it ?

    I respect your own views and participation.

    However I ‘suspect’ that the dilution of ‘foreign’ sports by GAA has been detrimental to Ireland, north and south, on the international sporting stage.
    Whether that is considered good or bad is a point of view – in my case it is bad therefore I would oppose the introduction of such a ‘choice’ to Protestants.

    On the other hand I say ‘suspect’ because although there are undoubtedly great athletes in GAA the question would be if any of them would have had the talent to make it in the Football Premiership or International Rugby ?

    If there was such talent would it have been plucked from GAA anyway long ago ?

    Therefore maybe you are right and it affords opportunity for less able sportspeople to nevertheless perform in front of 100,000 passionate people ?

    I do feel though that NI’s grammar school system and its ‘discrimination’ against soccer until 5th Form has been detrimental to NI’s sporting chances at international football.

    George Best is a case in point who says he left Grosvenor High for a footballing Secondary school for that reason.

  • bluedemon

    Jack Boothman had to attend a special mass on the weekend he was elected GAA president.

    Want examples of intimidation OK- an anonymous letter telling me to go to England weeks after moving into the area and having a note in the local paper with my address promoting a foreign sport. I found out the author was a prominent local GAA official. ‘Tight arsed prod’ muttered and meant to be heard when a polite refusal without a reason given after refusing to buy a GAA raffle ticket. Another GAA official apologised profusely however the person who said it was subsequently re-elected on a number of occasions to his position of influence in the GAA. Verbal intimidation at a previous employer. Different people and different circumstances. I may have already given too much away.

    I could have to close my eyes and grit my teeth for the Roman Catholic trappings associated with the GAA. Actually I wouldn’t have to do that personally but to me they are inappropriate for a sporting organisation.

  • Paddy Matthews

    Jack Boothman had to attend a special mass on the weekend he was elected GAA president.

    Do you have any evidence that he was forced to attend this mass, assuming that that there was such a Mass? You may have theological objections to attending a Roman Catholic service, but other people may not have.

    Want examples of intimidation OK- an anonymous letter telling me to go to England weeks after moving into the area and having a note in the local paper with my address promoting a foreign sport. I found out the author was a prominent local GAA official. ‘Tight arsed prod’ muttered and meant to be heard when a polite refusal without a reason given after refusing to buy a GAA raffle ticket. Another GAA official apologised profusely however the person who said it was subsequently re-elected on a number of occasions to his position of influence in the GAA. Verbal intimidation at a previous employer. Different people and different circumstances. I may have already given too much away.

    Seeing as you don’t specify the area where it happened, I don’t see how you could have given anything away.

    Any decent person would condemn what you say happened to you. I note that you do say that a GAA official apologised profusely to you for one insult.

    The other GAA official’s reaction to a letter simply promoting a ‘foreign sport’ seems off the wall and as far as I’m concerned you should have made complaints to the appropriate authorities about both that and the verbal intimidation you say happened to you at work. And if you didn’t get any satisfaction there, you should have taken it further – to the law. But how exactly did the verbal intimidation at work relate to the GAA?

  • bluedemon

    The incidents above were from different times over the past 25 years. The apology was genuine and from a decent man but from the witness not from the person who said it. The incident got discussed locally at the time and was well known in the area. This was not my doing. The fact that the guy got re-elected on a few subsequent occasions hurt more than the comment.

    I don’t know Jack Boothman and never met him. He wasn’t ‘forced’ to attend but he did attend. Is it not customary for the president to attend?
    Why does a ‘sporting’ organisation need the political and religious trimmings?

    I didn’t go to law over any of the incidents. I did not know about the references to the Irish race in the constitution until reading here but they are further examples as to why the organisation is exclusive and not inclusive.

  • Paddy Matthews

    The fact that the guy got re-elected on a few subsequent occasions hurt more than the comment.

    In my experience, it’s very difficult to get people to stand for roles in voluntary organisations like the GAA. The jobs are generally fairly hard work in terms of the amount of time and effort that have to be expended and they are also generally thankless. I don’t know but it may have been the case that no-one else wanted the job.

    I don’t know Jack Boothman and never met him. He wasn’t ‘forced’ to attend but he did attend. Is it not customary for the president to attend?
    Why does a ‘sporting’ organisation need the political and religious trimmings?

    I don’t know what service this is that you’re referring to so I can’t comment on the particular details.

    But if Jack Boothman wasn’t forced to attend a Catholic religious service but chose to attend, then that’s his business. Not any of mine. And not any of yours.

    The only “religious trimmings” that I’ve come across in a club have been memorial Masses for deceased members. I’ve never heard of attendance at them being compulsory. Pitch openings usually will have a blessing from clergymen, but they can be of more than one denomination (I’ve already given you an example of that).

    I did not know about the references to the Irish race in the constitution until reading here but they are further examples as to why the organisation is exclusive and not inclusive.

    It’s a piece of guff in the preamble which by the looks of the vocabulary dates from the early to mid years of the last century, when the word “race” had different implications and was commonly used as a synonym for “nation”. I wasn’t aware of its existence either until I looked it up now, and I was a GAA official at club level for a couple of years. I’m not even sure if it is legally part of the constitution.

    Anyone who wants to can take a look at it at:

    http://www.gaa.ie/files/gaa_official_guide2003.pdf

    and judge it for themselves.

    As a member of the GAA, I have no problem with the GAA getting rid of it. The parts of the Official Guide that concern 99.99% of officials (never mind players or supporters) are the regulations (the bits of the Official Guide between the preamble and the appendices which are actually enforceable and which matter on a day-to-day basis) and the playing rules, which are a separate document.

    The guff about “the Irish race” doesn’t seem to have excluded Jason Sherlock or the Ó hAilpín brothers from prominence in the GAA. It doesn’t seem to exclude the Arandelovices or Zambroglous or Kaldanises or Rustchitzkos or Husseins who play or played it at local club or intercounty level either.

    It doesn’t exclude them because it’s absolutely irrelevant to what goes on on the pitch or in the committee room.

    Bluedemon, I apologise and I am embarrassed by the fact that you were harrassed or insulted at various times over the course of 25 years by a couple of loons in the local GAA.

    But you went on to generalise from your individual experience to brand everyone in the GAA as being hostile to Protestants (“a cold house”) and to say that you knew of no Protestants apart from Jack Boothman who were involved in the organisation. Those statements are incorrect and they are insulting in their own way. You may not have intended them to be insulting but insulting they are.

  • bluedemon,

    ‘Somebody mentioned they had to close their eyes and grit their teeth during the British national anthem and standing for the British flag because they really wanted to be in the scouts. They suggest doing likewise. I won’t bother. I have played minority sports and enjoy watching more mainstream sports.’

    I never said that i had to grit my teeth, please if you’re going to post something, proceed on the basis of fact and not upon your own illusions. Anyway, it would have been impossible to grit my teeth as i was swearing allegiance to Queen Elizabeth and her successors. I did this every week, didn’t mean it, but hey its no big deal.
    You state that Gaelic games are a minority sport, but they’re not on this island, they are the most popular. You really don’t like the GAA do you? The potential for outreach to more Protestant children in NI is what is being advocated, i accept that you are not interested in playing Gaelic games so it needn’t bother you as clearly you are against the existence of the GAA.

    ‘I could have to close my eyes and grit my teeth for the Roman Catholic trappings associated with the GAA. Actually I wouldn’t have to do that personally’

    Why mention the things if you or others will have no requirement to do them? Why clutch at straws to be offended?

    I’m sorry that a guy insulted you. I’m sorrier still that he was in the GAA. However, the blame lays with him and not the GAA.

    John East Belfast

    You are upset that children didn’t have the choice to play soccer in grammar schools but would deny them the choice to play gaelic games, it is contradictory.

    Northern Ireland or Rep of Ireland are never going to win the World cup, they might have a better chance if they united though!
    However, if international success is all that matters to you then realy you should be advocating the banning of all sports apart from soccer so that NI is geared towards world football domination. Your two sons will be less than pleased! New Zealand is almost a one sport nation with rugby, and they are good and we’ve yet to beat them but Jesus they’re boring…

  • I suspect Bluedemon is just a troll. He’s just making stuff up to belittle the GAA, best ignored.

    John
    “However I ‘suspect’ that the dilution of ‘foreign’ sports by GAA has been detrimental to Ireland, north and south, on the international sporting stage.”

    So should we ban some of the sports being played and only allow 1 or 2?? I really don’t get your point John.

    “although there are undoubtedly great athletes in GAA the question would be if any of them would have had the talent to make it in the Football Premiership or International Rugby ?”

    Are you joking? Kevin Moran & Niall Quinn are just 2 GAA players which spring to mind. Jackie Carey, one of Man Utd’s greatest ever players played GAA. I’m sure there are many others.
    Graham Geraghty from Meath had a trial with Arsenal a number of years back. There are GAA players playing professional Aussie Rules.

    The GAA trains its players as good as if not better than many professional soccer clubs, and many of these guys do have the talent to play professionally.

    “it affords opportunity for less able sportspeople to nevertheless perform in front of 100,000 passionate people ?”

    Some of those performing are as talented sportsmen and woman as many professionals in the UK or anywhere.

    Is every player playing soccer talented? Or only those in the top 2 divisions? Should all lower division teams disband because they are not good enough?

  • Realist

    cladycowboy,

    “The crux of the matter is really this, if your 11 yr old takes a shine to Gaelic football on his next trip to Castlewellan and wants to join a local club, are you going to encourage his interest or persuade him not to?”

    If he wanted to join the local GAA Club, I would not stand in his way.

    At very least he would be afforded to “give it a try” and see what he thinks.

    He is football daft tho…plays in a league which brings children from various backgrounds together. I totally encourage that.

    “Could you not overlook the GAA guidebook”

    No I couldn’t…thems the rules, and if I join something, I join it with the intention of respecting and upholding the rules.

    The Scouting movement is a lot less vociferous about it’s politics than the GAA.

  • John East Belfast

    cladycowboy, maca

    I am not talking about banning any sports I am just talking about why I don’t see the point in promoting GAA in Protestant schools. I dont see the point in promoting Anerican football or baseball either – not because I am anti american but because I don’t see the point. I have the same view towards GAA.

    Offering choice is one thing but if it isn’t taken seriously then its a waste of time

    The GAA is in your heart it isn’t in mine and cant be put there.

    Anyhow we are only going to go around in circles with you not seeing my point of me not seeing the point !

    Maca

    Your comments about Niall Quinn et al only reinforces my case that the best soccer players would be plucked from GAA anyway so perhaps it has no impact on the international sporting scene after all.

    What it possibly impacts is a viable Irish League – I would have no problem with an all Ireland soccer League for instance but there isn’t the critical mass to sustain it.

    cladycowboy

    New Zealand boring !!

  • John
    You’re right, i’m not seeing your point. As far as I am concerned promoting GAA sports in the protestant schools can only be a good thing. The sports are fun to play, excellent for fitness and there is a huge amount of high level competition in Ireland.
    The GAA is not in your heart of course, but for young lads starting into the sports at age 8 or 10 or whatever it can become part of their hearts.

    “Your comments about Niall Quinn et al only reinforces my case that the best soccer players would be plucked from GAA…”

    Firstly it proves the point that GAA players are talented anough to play football professionally.
    Secondly what if a small number of the best Gaelic footballers go to soccer?
    What do you mean by impacting the “international sporting scene”?

    As for a viable all-Ireland league. There are currently 2 leagues which are continuing to run each year, 1 league would probably be stronger.
    I don’t think promoting GAA sports in the NI protestant community would seriously impact either soccer league.

  • Delerium

    Hi realist,

    I understand fully your contention that because the GAA is percieved as inherently nationalist, unionists feel reluctant to join as such an outlook is something that they simply could not subscribe to. Fair enough, lets say all nationalist references were removed from the GAA’s constitution. Lets say all political elements of the GAA were out of history completely in an effort to give people from the unionist community as sense of ownership of the organisation in the hope that they might take part. Using that logic, we’d have to go further then that. Generally speaking, Unionists would not describe as themselves typically ‘gaelic’ either so in order to create a truly neutral organisation why not rename it the ‘Athletic Association’ aswell?
    The point is, why do people in northern feel it nessecary to completely neutralise any organisation that they percieve as having an outlook different to their own? The GAA has no rule explicitly banning people on the basis of either Religion or political organisation. In essence what they’re saying is ‘yep we have a nationalist tint, but sure come along anyway’. The fact it if we were to neutralise completely every single organsiation on this island, be it orange or green, it would be a very, very boring place.
    This mindset of ‘you’re different, so i’m not joining in’ has to go if we’re ever going to get along around here. Instead of trying to dilute an organisation because it sensibilities are to yours, why not be secure enough in your own traditions and your own identity to take part in spite of the differences that exist between you? Its apparent to me that the only thing excluding you is yourself.

  • Delerium

    Ps. Pardon the bad grammar, I’ll hit the ‘preview’ button before the ‘submit’ one next time.

  • Brian Boru

    The GAA should keep the references to Republicanism right where they are thank you very much. Maybe the “race” bit could be replaced with “nation” though.