“It’s only right that Ulster rugby fans reciprocate”

As part of a longer piece on the merits of opening Croke Park to other sports, Trevor Ringland explains (scroll to the bottom) how he, as an Ulsterman, Unionist and rugby fan/former star, feels about the prospect of watching his sport on GAA turf.

  • slug

    Trevor is a great guy.

    He is so right. We have to start enjoying each other’s company, and appreciating the good things about each other. Respecting each others point of view.

    Thats what civility is all about.

  • oceallaigh

    Finally a story to cheer about ,good on you Trevor.

  • slug

    oceallaigh – well said.

  • Henry94

    I think GAA supporters would be happy to see anybody and everybody from the county supporting the county team. But nobosy owes their support.

    “It’s only right that Ulster rugby fans reciprocate”

    That doesn’t sound right. Support it if you want to and if you don’t then no harm done.

  • slug

    Thats where the one small step campaign wants to change your mind, Henry. Its about trying out things that you always associated with the other side, experimenting. One good turn deserving another. And lets not forget the big chages the GAA have brought.

  • slug

    Henry: here are some ideas on how to take small step. I think they’re really good, theres a suggestion (or several) here for everyone:

    /====

    Individual/personal steps:

    Read a newspaper from the other side for a day/week

    Seek opportunities to meet people from the “other side” at a face to face social level

    Encourage family and friends to look to the future and to bury past hurts

    Refuse to support, encourage or endorse those who show sectarian attitudes

    Make sure you do not make offensive remarks about other religions or races

    Listen to an Irish Language programme/Pipe band programme on Radio Ulster

    Learn how to greet some one in Irish/Ulster Scots

    Buy a book by an Irish/British poet and read it

    Watch a Gaelic game on TV

    Watch a cricket game

    Buy a Gaelic/cricket rulebook

    Go on the Internet and search for information material on the orders eg Hibernians/Orange

    Find out the history and stories behind what certain symbols and religious icons mean

    Go on the Internet and search for information on political parties other than the one you support

    Attend a community relations course

    Find out more about your own cultural background

    With your children:

    Encourage your children to be friendly with children from the “other side”

    Encourage your children to take part in cross community activities

    Consider integrated education for your children

    In the Workplace

    Be a voice of tolerance and reason in your workplace

    Display One Small Step Campaign logo & literature at Conferences

    Print an article about The One Small Step Campaign in the In-house magazine

    Staff to discuss topics of race and/or culture at lunch time/coffee breaks

    Staff to wear One Small Step badges

    Organise an annual One Small Step Day

    In own community:

    Join a community group and promote cross community activities

    Promote good relations with the “other side” within existing community groups

    Refuse to take part in sectarian groups or activities

    Speak out against sectarian slogans & graffiti in your neighbourhood

    Attend a harvest festival service

    Talk to a member of the Orders from your own tradition and see if you can understand what they are or what they believe

    Get a partner or two people and arrange to discuss own beliefs and how they differ from “the other”

    Read a book or paper from the other tradition and discuss perceptions

    Use a church year to look at how traditions differ in celebrations eg Harvest, Easter etc

    Organise a night of cultural activities or cultural theme nights

    Organise a mixed five a side football match

    /====

    Henry the above are great ideas and the One Small Step campaign suggests that you pick some of these. Nobody could do all these things but we can all do a few of them.

    For a better future, surely we have to learn and experiment.

  • slug

    Since a high % of people reading this spend a lot of time on the internet, discussing NI politics, there is surely inspiration here for how we go about talking to one another?

    Things such as trying to understand one another, not belittling or questioning others’ identity, but instead trying to learn.

    Rather than making negative comments about the other side, make positive points.

    Not belittling the ideas of those from other traditions.

    Not adopting a patronising tone.

    I believe that Trevors ideas are very worth thinking about, they represent an idealism that we can all aim toward. They are hard to follow, but I believe that if everyone got on board, these ideas can transform our community.

  • Ringland’s article contains some very encouraging food for thought. When he urged the unionist community to support the Tyrone team in last year’s All Ireland final his plea may have largely fallen on deaf ears, but at least he made the effort. If there were more people himself or Jarlath Burns then major progress could be made. Co-operation between GAA and Rugby is not a new thing, and the more of it that happens the better. If anything good came from the tragic deaths of Tyrone Gaelic footballer Cormac McAnallen and Armagh schools rugby player John McCall, it was the coming together of local sporting bodies and clubs to raise funds to purchase defibrillators and increase public awareness of adult sudden death syndrome – and thus in a wider context promote a level of mutual understanding.

    On the Croke Park issue I think the GAA did the right thing – maintaining Rule 42 would have been nothing short of a major PR disaster. If the Irish soccer and rugby teams had been forced to play their home games outside Ireland during the refurbishment of Lansdowne Road it would have been a serious embarrassment. Having said that, I feel the IRFU are more deserving of the facilities at Croker than the FAI. At least they have their own stadium, whereas the FAI made no major efforts to develop a national soccer stadium even during the glory days of the Charlton era when the money was pouring in. Instead they were content to continue to pay the rent for Lansdowne to the rugby authorities and almost ended up in a sticky situation as a result.

  • Watch a cricket game

    That is asking too much!

    I would be asleep in 5 minutes! 😉

  • Bretagne

    I met Trevor Ringland at a Ballycastle GAA dinner about two years ago – he is one of
    the few unionists politicians who I have met who
    express things in the positive – in his case very positive. He also go a huge ovation when introduced…gotta agree with Slug above..

  • páid

    Steady lads, praise has to come from the right quarter in our zero-sum game.

  • BogExile

    I’ve played Gaelic football, albeit slightly drunk on a beach in Mayo. As a former bad rugby player the sense of violence and complexity was very familiar. Sport can be a neutral language of tolerance and enjoyment.

    As a unionist I am never more Irish than during the 6 nations rugby championship. I’ll wear the shirt, sing the fields of Athenry and through a haze of drink find Phil Coulters song almost intelligible. My Quasi-Republicanism reaches it’s zenith when we face the ‘oul enemy at Twickers.

    Proof that sport and alcohol can have benefits.

    Well done Trevor.

  • smcgiff

    I heard a good story (Don’t think it was about Trevor) on the radio over the weekend.

    It was about a unionist playing rugby for Ireland. He commented while at a GAA dinner that he’d such a great time that when he travelled back from Dublin it took him until he reached Newry before he remembered he was a unionist! 😉

    Obviously said tongue in cheek.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi All,

    England play Ireland next year at Croke Park. Does anyone know if GSTQ will be played at Croke Park?

  • smcgiff

    AFAIK, yes CC.

    I think the GAA offices stacked full with €10 million euro will help drown out the anthem.

    However, I heard one wag state that considering the Irish National Anthem was heckled in Twikkers* it’s likely that GSTQ would get equal treatment.

    *I don’t remember this happening.

  • George

    “England play Ireland next year at Croke Park. Does anyone know if GSTQ will be played at Croke Park? ”

    Yes.
    From today’s Irish Times by John Waters:

    “That moment in February 2007 when the band strikes up God Save the Queen before the first international between Ireland and England at Croke Park will be one of the most significant in the lifetimes of those who have lived sentient lives in 20th-century Ireland.

    It will be a chilling moment, though, for good reasons, a moment of healing, great emotion and remembering. We are ready for it now, though not everyone will understand this.

    There will be those who will mistakenly grieve what they see as a sell-out. Others will welcome the moment as a victorious culmination of their efforts in persuading the Irish people to snap out of the greatest grievance in our collective psyche. They will be mistaken too. The skilful manner of the GAA’s handling of the question of whether to allow soccer and rugby into Croke Park has ensured that the significance of that moment has the potential to transcend all such tribal positions.

    By allowing time and space for a comprehensive debate within the organisation and without, they have enabled the event to dovetail with others in our time – the peace process, the commemorations of the Great Famine, the changing economic relationship between Ireland and Britain – to acquire significance far beyond the sporting context.

    For too long, those we somewhat euphemistically call revisionists have scolded us about our “duty” to forgive and forget. The murderous campaign of the Provisional IRA made it difficult to argue this point, but really we had no such duty. What the revisionists were advocating was not forgiveness but amnesia, and that would have been bad for everyone. Final reconciliation with England/Great Britain could come about only when we were ready to reach out as an equal nation. We are now.

    The British anthem will be played at Croke Park not as an apologetic concession of our responsibility to “get over it”, but a proud acknowledgement that, together, our two nations have grown into a better way of living side by side.

    ….When the British anthem is played at Croke Park next year, albeit at a rugby international, the world will know that we have left the past behind us – not because we must or because we have been told we must, but because we can and want to.”

  • slug

    It is really heartening to see the ice melt in the ways we read about above.

    This is a great thread.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Smcgiff,

    “yes CC”

    Fair bloody play to them…

    Hi George,

    Have you o’d on poetry?

  • CC

    Hi George,

    Have you o’d on poetry?

    If you read George’s post again, you’ll see that he was quoting John Waters in the Irish Times. The only word in his post that he offered as his own was to answer “yes” to your question of 1.58pm.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Gerry,

    Cheers for pointing that out.

    Hi George,

    Please accept my apologies…

  • Concerned Loyalist

    Slug,
    Are you inferring that if I read a pro-nationalist paper for a week it could help me to become more sympathetic with the nationalist cause, and understand deeper the hopes and fears of pro-“United” Ireland supporters?

    I find that in practice the opposite is actually the case. As I go to university in Londonderry with a nationalist majority, I have found myself picking up and reading both the Irish News and Daily Ireland newspapers. Unfortunately, within the space of five minutes I have set both papers down. This is because of the anti-British spiel, anti-Orange Order and the wider Ulster Loyalist culture, the unsettling obsession with loyalist-NIO collusion, and the propagandistic rhetoric-e.g. the use of terms such as “Unionist death-squads” and “Crown forces” when talking about loyalist paramilitaries, in contrast to “IRA volunteers” being the preferred phrasing of Provo murderers…I found myself feeling even stronger that I had a separate, Ulster and British identity than before I read these, lets face it, republican rags.

  • Baluba

    Fair play to Ringland. Although I didn’t support this move and will find it a bitter pill to swallow when GSTQ is sang in Croke Park (a place I hold with as much significance as Muslims do Mecca and Catholics do The Vatican), I hope our national rugby and soccer teams can pull out good results with the help of the 80,000 voices they’ll fit in to support them.

  • Realist

    I am a fan of Trevor Ringland’s political foresight, and an advocate of the “One Small Step” campaign….Unlike Concerned Loyalist, my morning paper of choice is now the Irish News.

    In the well intentioned article, Trevor mentions the “ground share” at Harlequins.

    Perhaps if the Committee of Harlequins had read a piece which appeared in The Independent On Sunday on 5th December past, they might not have been so willing to jump into bed with the GAA Club. I know for a fact that the decision to share has caused great anger amongst a section of the membership.

    THE GAA has been accused of behaving like Scrooge after refusing a soccer club permission to stage a Christmas memorial tournament on one of their club grounds.

    The refusal comes despite the fact the soccer club regularly uses the GAA pitch for training. The decision by Sarsfield Hurling Club in Glanmire, just outside Cork city, has sparked anger.

    Riverstown FC has said its soccer tournament will go ahead – but acknowledged that, unless there is a change of heart from the GAA hierarchy, it will not be at Sarsfield’s facility.

    A spokesman for the Sarsfield club said members had to refuse the soccer club because the tournament contravenes the controversial Rule 42 – which restricts the use of GAA grounds. Riverstown FC has refused to criticise the GAA club – simply explaining that it has enjoyed a good relationship with the club over the use of training facilities for many years.

    The soccer club’s officials have now been deluged with offers of alternative venues for the tournament. Now, local TD Billy Kelleher has vowed to raise the issue with the Cork County Board.

    So, what exactly is the GAA’s stance on sharing with other sports?

    I think we should know.

  • smcgiff

    ‘I hope our national rugby and soccer teams can pull out good results with the help of the 80,000 voices they’ll fit in to support them.’

    82k rugby
    65k Soccer

    due to the FIFA rule re terraces.

  • darth rumsfeld

    Watch a cricket game

    That is asking too much!

    I would be asleep in 5 minutes! 😉

    yeah, it is the sport most requiring intellectual development on the part of participants and spectators

  • smcgiff

    ‘yeah, it is the sport most requiring intellectual development on the part of participants and spectators’

    The ability to see through one’s eyelids while in a state of unconsciousness? Pretty clever all right! 🙂

  • Tochais Síoraí

    When will Unionism start to elect people like Ringland to Westminister and Stormont?

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Tochais,

    “When will Unionism start to elect people like Ringland to Westminister and Stormont?”

    We used to. Then Northern Nationalists chose SF. So Unionism retreated to the DUP…

    Grim, but there ye have it…

    Perhaps, if Northern Nationalists reject SF and their criminal ways things will revert. Ye can but hope…

  • smcgiff

    CC,

    I could be wrong, but it seemed as if the choosing of the DUP and SF and the abandonment of the UUP and SDLP were simultaneous.

  • slug

    smcgiff:

    I would say that SF overtook SDLP (about 2001) then DUP overtook UUP (about 2003).

  • smcgiff

    Interesting, Slug.

    Now that the nuclear options have been selected I wonder what’s next.

  • Tochais Síóraí

    Congal, not sure if many UUP MPs or assembly members started initiatives such as Ringland or seemed any way interested in understanding the motivations or aspirations of the other side. The only one I can think of who comes anywhere near is Sylvia Hermon. Were there others?

  • slug

    Tochais Síóraí

    In 1997 Dermot Nesbitt ran a consultation exercise in which he consulted a wide range of groups – including the Catholic church – on what they thought the best way forward should be for the UUP, specifically, whether the UUP should enter talks or not.

    On the nationalist side, an equivalent to Trevor Ringland might be Tom Kelly, who recently said that accepting his MBE was part of developing a futre in which the two sides shared things rather than kept things separate.

  • slug

    “Now that the nuclear options have been selected I wonder what’s next.”

    Well the SDLP seem to be eating steak for breakfast, and could come through resurgent. The UUP might pick up a lot of votes again if they get their act together – a lot of their voters didn’t bother coming out. The 2007 assembly election will be interesting.

  • slug

    Oh and smcgiff, something tells me that the voting system in the Assembly will be changed the next time, from the present system to a qualified majority voting system in which you need e.g. 65% of the vote. That system will make it irrelevant as such whether you are the biggest party in each tribe, making parties like the UUP and SDLP and even the Alliance party and Greens, if they get any MLAs, relevant again. Could free things up a lot.

  • * On the nationalist side, an equivalent to Trevor Ringland might be Tom Kelly, who recently said that accepting his MBE was part of developing a futre in which the two sides shared things rather than kept things separate.
    Posted by slug on Jan 23, 2006 @ 07:37 PM *

    If Trevor can look at things without the “Ulster says no” and “not an inch” attitude, that has come to typify the unionist mouthpieces, then kudos to him. However, if Tom Kelly rushes to take up the symbolism of unionism then I can’t have any respect for him.

    Shouldn’t we be moving away from a zero sum game and looking at what is right and correct and sticking to this rather than meeting in the middle thus turning the dysfunctional society inverted.!??!

  • slug

    “Shouldn’t we be moving away from a zero sum game and looking at what is right and correct and sticking to this rather than meeting in the middle thus turning the dysfunctional society inverted.!??!”

    Niall I think the one small step campaign is essentially pluralist – each side has its own internally sensible narrative.

    It’s about accepting that we can’t really say one side is right and the other wrong, and in fact the way forward is for us all to start sharing and experiencing things that previously tended to belong to one side or the other.

    Don’t worry, that doesn’t mean you have to partake in everything on Trevor’s list, as posted by myself earlier in this thread, but it does mean a bit of experimentation and expeditions outside the comfort zones.

    Niall, just think if everyone took one small step towards each other then just think what an improvement that could mean for the whole society.

  • Slug,
    I’m not disagreeing with the one small step campaign.

    I disagree with your posting that Tom Kelly “….was part of developing a futre in which the two sides shared things rather than kept things separate”.

    His is just stupid posturing with medieval trinkets as opposed to working with others in the broader community. I think these honours (sic) lists are a disgrace and if someone from the community which participate in them least, decides to join in then this should be high lighted as a pathetic fraud.

    You on the other hand imply that Kelly achieved something remarkable – this is where our opinions diverge.

    When the NUI offered Ronnie Reagan an honoury degree many handed back their scrolls – this is the right thing to do. Tom Kelly is a disgrace.

  • Brendan, Belfast

    Niall writes:

    “Tom Kelly isd a disgrace”

    its a pity Niall that you have to revert to suchlanguage to make a point – it may be ‘cool’ or ‘right on’ wherever you come from to condemn the honours system. But Tom Kelly as a disgrace? Where does that leave those who took up arms against their neighbours, their fellow irishmen.

    Accuse Tom Kelly of misjudgement if you think he misjudged (for the record – i think his was a personal choice, for him alone to decide) – but, “a disgrace?”

    wise up. Grow up.

  • slug

    Niall

    I think it would be unfair on Trevor Ringland’s initiative to get side tracked onto Tom Kelly and I apologise to everyone for that. Obviously there are many small steps that are possible and one does not have to accept an honour from the Queen. On the unionist side, accepting an honour or gift from the Irish president would be an example of a small step.

    But the real point here really is that there are all kinds of ways and all sorts of ways that we can take “one small step”.

    The key thing is that they should in some sense take us outside our comfort zone – i.e. we should all be challenged by the step taken.

    The other thing is that we can’t say “let the other side take the small step towards us”. That would not be in the spirit of Trevor’s campaign.

    Anyway Niall I have said enough and I am sure that you can see where I am coming from.

  • * Posted by Brendan, Belfast on Jan 23, 2006 @ 09:58 PM
    its a pity Niall that you have to revert to suchlanguage * surely some of the mildest language used on this site. Wise up and grow up.

    * it may be ‘cool’ or ‘right on’ wherever you come from to condemn the honours system. *
    there is no justification of a honour (sic) system based on political contribution in this day and age. Just because it gussied up with trinkets and chaired by Betty Saxe Coburg doesn’t take away from the fact that it’s inequitable.

    * Where does that leave those who took up arms against their neighbours, their fellow irishmen. * WTF does this have to do with any of my points made – grow up and learn how to debate.

    *Accuse Tom Kelly of misjudgement if you think he misjudged (for the record – i think his was a personal choice, for him alone to decide) – but, “a disgrace?” * the party of which he’s affiliated has rarely accepted anything like these trinkets. Devlin mimicked the “voice of the working class” and then joined the opposition (no other word for it) in the House of Lords. If Hume, Nobel Laureate, won’t accept one then TK shouldn’t. The sdlp originated in the baton charged days seeking civil rights. Now one of their affiliated members is accepting trinkets from members of that state. The time is not right to accept these baubles.

    * Wise up. Grow up.* Ditto.

  • * Posted by slug on Jan 23, 2006 @ 10:04 PM
    I think it would be unfair on Trevor Ringland’s initiative to get side tracked onto Tom Kelly *agreed and likewise I apologise for going down that well worn path.
    * The key thing is that they should in some sense take us outside our comfort zone – i.e. we should all be challenged by the step taken. *agreed. I like to think that the easy option is usually the wrong option. In this I think we agree

    * The other thing is that we can’t say “let the other side take the small step towards us”.* agreed.

  • Cathal

    “yeah, it is the sport most requiring intellectual development on the part of participants and spectators ”

    Yes, throwing a ball at three sticks, hitting a ball with a stick, catching a ball, counting in increments of 1, 4 and 6.

    Perhaps they should rename it IntelliBall or some such.

    On the content of the thread, Ringland should run for President of Ireland. He’s is to Nationalists what John McCain is to Dems. Top notch bloke.

    I was about to burst into a bit of Koom-ba-ya until I read Concerned Loyalist’s post. As depressing as ever, in a 1970s style way. By the way CL, it’s only going to get worse for you, especially with a degree from Magee 🙂

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Congal Claen

    “We used to. Then Northern Nationalists chose SF. So Unionism retreated to the DUP… Grim, but there ye have it… Perhaps, if Northern Nationalists reject SF and their criminal ways things will revert. Ye can but hope…”

    Jesus wept.

    So let’s see if I get this right – you agree that unionism has gone way out to the far right, but its extremism is purely a reaction to republican provocation? (ie the fenians taking the damnable step of voting for the party unionists don’t want them to vote for.)

    The logic you employ here rings a bell. Yes, unionists do wrong, but only because the fenians forced a “reaction”. Hmmmm.

    Unionism’s bourgeois intelligentsia and it’s murder squads all think along the same lines, it seems.

  • Brendan, Belfast

    Niall wrote
    “Devlin mimicked the “voice of the working class” and then joined the opposition (no other word for it) in the House of Lords”

    Maybe you could explain this…..

  • * “Devlin mimicked the “voice of the working class” and then joined the opposition (no other word for it) in the House of Lords”

    Maybe you could explain this…..

    Posted by Brendan, Belfast on Jan 23, 2006 @ 11:42 PM *

    apologies…that should have been Fitt. In my haste…etc, etc

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Congal

    “We used to. Then Northern Nationalists chose SF. So Unionism retreated to the DUP…”

    Though I have to say, the suggestion in your post that guys like Trevor Ringland have ever been an electoral force within unionism is, well, it’s untrue anyway. Not sure whether the suggestion is deliberately deceitful, laughable, ignorant, touchingly naive or just quixotic. Certainly though, it’s galaxies from the reality.

    Who were these decent, detente-promoting leaders of unionism? Vanguard Trimble, whose mentor called for the “enemy” to be “liquidated”, who said republicans needed to be “house-trained”, who considered Ireland a “pathetic, sectarian state”. The war-loving Molyneaux, who considered the end of the IRA campaign to be the most destablising thing that ever happened to his beloved Ulster? Harry West, who rode to greatness on the back of the UWC coup? Brian Faulkner, for whom there was no solution that couldn’t be fixed by internment? Terence O’Neill, who reckoned the solution to our problems was to get Catholics to become more like Protestants and to stop having “18 children”? Basil Brooke, who only employed “good Protestant lads and wouldn’t have a Papist about the place”? John Miller Andrews, flunky to James Craig, of the Protestant parliament and the Protestant people?

    Quite a bunch, eh? These guys whom Congal would have us believe were the forbears of Trevor Ringland. That unionism has a track record of electing representatives on a mandate of reaching out, but that it was scuppered by nationalists turning to Sinn Fein.

    Now, I’m not suggesting that none of the unionist leaders ever attempted to lead their people into a more conciliatory direction. I would however point out though that they did so for reasons of realpolitik. O’Neill, Faulkner, Trimble – they all remained as convinced as any Paisleyite of the intrinsic inferiority of the rest of the Irish people. They also all failed, having been hauled back by a people who weren’t interested in realpolitik and were never going to lower themselves to actually operate on the same level as the natives.

    In a recent column Brian Feeney identified the refusal of unionism as a whole to accept the equality of the rest of the people of Ireland as a serious “psycho-political problem” for unionism itself.

    Ringland and people like him are a new and still fledgling phenomenon. They are trying to offer their community a kind of therapy that might help alleviate that “psycho-political problem”. Ringland clearly does not consider the rest of the people of Ireland to be lesser in virtually every sense – but the overwhelming majority of unionists do suffer from that misconception.

    The results have been catastrophic, for unionists more than anyone else. The corrosive effect on the unionist community’s psyche goes back generations. We had the failure to create a stable or equitable northern state. The failure to adapt to changing economic circumstances in the 1950s and early 60s. The failure to adapt – or even understand the need to adapt – to demands for an equitable and non-sectarian party in the late 60s. The loss of political power in 1972. The absolute absence of ideas, or even understanding of a need for ideas – throughout the troubles. The humiliation of the Anglo Irish Agreement. The shambolic performance throughout the peace process. Today, unionism’s ultimate abandonment of self-reliance or agency, the full-on embrace of colonial status and the acceptance of Northern Ireland’s future as a continuing failure and sponge.

    We see symptoms of the malaise in the long-term collapse of unionist voting turnout. (Westminster seats are now 10 to 8. We’re just a North Belfast away from the unimaginable – parity.) We see it in humiliating and degrading instances of self-harm (eg Drumcree, Carnmoney, Harryville, Holy Cross, the September riots, loyalist paramilitarism generally).

    So let’s not pretend that the unionist people used to elect progressives but have been backed into an unfamiliar corner by Sinn Fein. Paisley offers unionism a model of leadership that is disastrous and insanity-inducing.

    So no change there then.

  • Realist
    “So, what exactly is the GAA’s stance on sharing with other sports? I think we should know.”

    You’ve read Rule 42 haven’t you? It still applies afaik.

  • oceallaigh

    Though I have to say, the suggestion in your post that guys like Trevor Ringland have ever been an electoral force within unionism is, well, it’s untrue anyway. Not sure….by Billy Pilgrim.

    BRILLIANT ! Definitely the best posting I have seen on here yet.

  • Realist

    “You’ve read Rule 42 haven’t you? It still applies afaik.”

    Maca,

    That’s a pity. The GAA really should ditch such rules of exclusion.

  • Billy Pilgrim
    “Ringland clearly does not consider the rest of the people of Ireland to be lesser in virtually every sense – but the overwhelming majority of unionists do suffer from that misconception.”

    Really?

    That looks very much like the type of unthinking, sectarian stereotyping that seems to be increasingly the stock in trade of Brian Feeney.

    So, on what basis do you make that sweeping judgement?

    Do the “vast majority” of normal Unionists you (presumably) meet everyday treat you as an inferior?

    Yes, the DUP is now electorally the biggest Unionist party but as you say yourself we are seeing “symptoms of the malaise in the long-term collapse of unionist voting turnout”.

    That would seem to indicate to me an increasing dissatisfaction with what the two Unionist parties have to offer, people waiting for a more secular, modern type of Unionism to emerge.

    You do those kind of people a great disservice when you talk about the “vast majority of Unionism” holding those kind of bigotted anti-Irish attitudes.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Billy,

    My reply of “we used to” was in response to Tochais’ question, “When will Unionism start to elect people like Ringland to Westminister and Stormont”. In my reply I wasn’t talking decades ago, I was talking about the recent past. As Slug points out I believe factually that what I said was and is the case. If I am wrong, point out my chronological error. However, if you want to dwell on the past, I could say that even way back in the past the United Irishmen took more than one small step in trying to cross the sectarian divide. But there didn’t seem to be much reciprocation from my recollection of the era.

    “Yes, unionists do wrong, but only because the fenians forced a “reaction”. Hmmmm.”

    I never said Unionists did wrong. I said they retreated to the DUP. I then described this situation as “grim”. You then follow this up with…

    “Unionism’s bourgeois intelligentsia and it’s murder squads all think along the same lines, it seems.”

    In response may I use your “Jesus wept” phrase? How to fek is my description of the 2 extremes being voted in as ‘grim’, the thinking of unionist murder squads? I would have though that the “murder squads” from BOTH sides would be quite pleased with the situation.

    From your second reply to my post you then pose the question, “Who were these decent, detente-promoting leaders of unionism?”

    You then answer the question with your own selective memories of the individuals you suggest. May I give my own selective memories of some of those you mention…

    Nobel Peace Prize winning Trimble.

    Brian Faulkner. Educated in Dublin, friend of Michael Yeats, son of that famous Unionist W.B Yeats! Congratulated by Nationalists in his role as Minister for Commerce. As Prime Minister, he gave a non-unionist, David Bleakley, a former Northern Ireland Labour Party MP, a position in his Cabinet as Minister of Community Relations. In June of 1971, he proposed three new powerful committees at Stormont which would give the Opposition salaried chairmanships of two of them. Chief Minister in a powersharing executive with the SDLP and the middle-of-the-road Alliance Party. But all you remember is internment!

    Terence O’Neill. As Prime Minister, he aimed to end sectarianism and to bring Catholics and Protestants into working relationships. An example being a visit to a convent. Also, in January 1965 O’Neill invited the Taoiseach, Sean Lemass, for talks in Belfast. In February O’Neill visited Lemass in Dublin. You then suggest that he “reckoned the solution to our problems was to get Catholics to become more like Protestants and to stop having “18 children”
    However, if you know the whole quote it’s not got quite the sectarian ring that you suggest. In an interview with the Belfast Telegraph, published in May 1969, he stated..

    “It is frightfully hard to explain to Protestants that if you give Roman Catholics a good job and a good house, they will live like Protestants…they will refuse to have 18 children…If you treat Roman Catholics with due consideration and kindness, they will live like Protestants in spite of the authoritative nature of their Church.”

    Of course you also had to get in the famous “Protestant Parliament and a Protestant state” Sir James Craig quote. I’m sure you know that this was a direct response to De Valera’s ‘Catholic Constitution for a Catholic Nation’ quote. Again, a reaction.

    BTW, I took most of the above from Wikipedia. So, you too can look up the full entries and make up your own mind.

    “Quite a bunch, eh? These guys whom Congal would have us believe were the forbears of Trevor Ringland. That unionism has a track record of electing representatives on a mandate of reaching out, but that it was scuppered by nationalists turning to Sinn Fein.”

    Ironically correct!

    “they all remained as convinced as any Paisleyite of the intrinsic inferiority of the rest of the Irish people”

    You follow this up with a description of the “rest of the Irish people” as “natives”. You also fit in the old “colonial” description of Unionists. Remind me, who has the superiority complex? I know from previous debates with you Billy that you know that the term “native” confers a certain amount of ownership and that “colonial” gives the impression of foreigner. I also know, that you know that Irish history is a wee bit more complex than this and that we all have ownership of this land. But you persist with the notion. Why?

  • Realist
    “That’s a pity. The GAA really should ditch such rules of exclusion.”

    Why? FAI, IFA & IRFU are competitors. There’s limited players/supporters on this island, each organisation wants as big a slice of the pie as possible. Cooperation is fine but why should the GAA open all grounds to its competitors letting them get the benefits of the GAA’s hard work?

  • darth rumsfeld

    actually Congal I believe that O’Neill quote to be the most shameful ever uttered by a Unionist politician, riddled with sectarianism and class superior smugness.
    The man was no liberal except in the sense that he had an unwavering belief that those who resisted his politics were intellectually deficient. And what was his great goal? To destroy the NI labour party which was the only party able to lead those poor RCs out of a tribal cul de sac.

    Just to repeat an analogy I made elsewhere- the relevance of Craig’s comments seventy years ago is as much as the words of Stanley Baldwin in the Abdication crisis or Neville Chamberlain at Munich to Dave Cameron’s Conservatism in 2006, or indeed to conservatism in the past 50 years

    Apart from your views on O’Neill you are right in almost your entire post.

  • Realist

    “Why? FAI, IFA & IRFU are competitors. There’s limited players/supporters on this island, each organisation wants as big a slice of the pie as possible. Cooperation is fine but why should the GAA open all grounds to its competitors letting them get the benefits of the GAA’s hard work?”

    Maca,

    Why do you need a rule to implemenmt such thinking?

    Should there not be the facilty for choice on such issues?

  • Realist, you didn’t answer, why should they ditch it?
    I don’t know why the rule is there … perhaps to protect assets they have put a lot of work/money into.

  • Dec

    CG

    However, if you know the whole quote it’s not got quite the sectarian ring that you suggest.

    You seriously don’t find anything sectarian about an argument that runs:”Ketholics….scrub ’em up a bit and they won’t breed like rabbits”?

    Ps has anyone ever accused Unionists of breeding like Pandas?

    Realist

    Not everything the GAA does is designed to infuriate Unionists. Try to bear in mind that on the Island of Ireland who the GAA’s main sporting competitors are.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Dec/Darth,

    Points taken. To me I thought it sounded as though he was saying we were the same underneath. But, I accept that you could take a different view. Perhaps, I had my old pair of rose tainted specs on…

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Paul

    “Do the “vast majority” of normal Unionists you (presumably) meet everyday treat you as an inferior?”
    No, but it’s there in the subtext. I was talking to a friend’s wife a while back, a nice woman originally from the Shankill but these days resident in Malone. (Married well, Campbell College business type, big rugby man, you know the profile.) Now, I happened to be talking to her recently about my in laws, who are from Kerry, and in what I presume was an attempt to prove that she wasn’t sectarian she told me that she and her husband had been to Dingle on holiday. “And they were just the most lovely little people down there,” she said.

    Or there was the time recently when I was talking about the southern economy with a friend, and he came out with the hoary old chestnut about how the Republic’s wealth had been handed over by the EU. As though everyone down south would be riding around on donkeys if they hadn’t been given Mercs and tidied up like so many Eliza Doolittles by the Europeans and their Euros. This was a very smart guy talking yet what he was saying was so completely stupid that only a psychological blind spot could possibly explain it.

    It’s absolutely implicit when, for example, unionist politicians argue that the new PSNI is amateurish and incompetent when compared to the sleek, vigorous (and pure) old RUC. (The PSNI is bad, true, but the let’s not let nostalgia shroud the fact that the RUC was ten times worse – and I’m only talking about standard, operational policing here.) It’s implicit in unionism’s inability to get its head around power sharing, though it has been government policy for THIRTY FOUR YEARS now and has even been attempted on five abortive occasions. In fact it has been the unifying theme since the Ulster Convention of 1892, when the Duke of Abercorn said that Home Rule in Ireland would be like the people of Edinburgh being ruled by Highland crofters.

    Now, we’re not talking about racism or quasi-fascism here or anything. I think it’s more like pompousness and a kind of communal snobbery, if you like. It’s kind of like the way old money views new money. Trouble is, when that high-handed snobbery is relentlessly debunked by demonstrable reality, the effect is psychologically devastating. (Jesus, look at the British aristocracy…)

    “Yes, the DUP is now electorally the biggest Unionist party but as you say yourself we are seeing “symptoms of the malaise in the long-term collapse of unionist voting turnout. That would seem to indicate to me an increasing dissatisfaction with what the two Unionist parties have to offer, people waiting for a more secular, modern type of Unionism to emerge.”

    I do believe there is a large constituency within what has traditionally been the unionist bloc that would love to be offered something new. This large non-voting Protestant demographic is not blighted by b.igotry, is happy to consider itself Irish, does want to diminish the significance of the border and is impressed by the achievements of their fellow Irish people south of the border. This Ringland demographic might even be referred to as post-unionist – pro Union, yes, but sentient and sceptical of where the whole unionist project is leading.

    However, my point is that this demographic is new and has not yet make any political impact, other than by creating a void within electoral unionism. The result? Unionists who do still vote support a brand of unionism not significantly different from the one their forbears buttressed when Brooke and Craig were in office.

    “You do those kind of people a great disservice when you talk about the “vast majority of Unionism” holding those kind of bigotted anti-Irish attitudes.”

    I didn’t mention the B word. I think it’s more like snobbery, a quixotic remnant of the imperial past. It’s far more damaging to unionists themselves than to those they look down their noses at.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Congael Claen

    “My reply of “we used to” was in response to Tochais’ question, “When will Unionism start to elect people like Ringland to Westminister and Stormont”. In my reply I wasn’t talking decades ago, I was talking about the recent past.”

    And my response went from Trimble right back to Craig. I acknowledged that some unionist leaders in the past have attempted to move things forward. However, this was not because they, like Ringland, were convinced ideologically of the need to change, but because they were convinced pragmatically. Trimble was not like Ringland. Trimble was working towards a change in strategy. Ringland is calling for a change of heart. That doesn’t mean Trimble cannot take pride in some of his achievements – he can – but he was still, on a personal level, an unreconstructed supremacist, leading a party of unreconstructed supremacists. It’s the classic motif of reforming unionist leaders, and it’s the reason they always fail – their movement towards compromise is so counter-intuitive that no matter what sacrifices they make, they never really convince that they believe themselves in what they are doing.

    “I could say that even way back in the past the United Irishmen took more than one small step in trying to cross the sectarian divide. But there didn’t seem to be much reciprocation from my recollection of the era.”

    Er, the United Irishmen were not unionists. Quite the contrary in fact. They were Protestants, but I’m not talking about Protestantism.

    “How to fek is my description of the 2 extremes being voted in as ‘grim’, the thinking of unionist murder squads? I would have though that the “murder squads” from BOTH sides would be quite pleased with the situation.”

    It’s the point about claiming ones “grim” actions are in reaction to a preceding “grim” action. The mitigation of responsibility. So when the UVF murdered a random Catholic it was a “measured military response”. When unionism throws in its lot with Paisley it’s a reaction to Sinn Fein. It’s the tit-for-tat mindset I was talking about. The reactionary tendency. I’m not trying to link you with loyalist murder squads – just pointing out that your debating strategy is the same. Incidentally, “both sides” has got nothing to do with it.

    I accept your points about former unionist leaders, and indeed had previously accepted it anyway. My point was never that unionists hate the rest of the Irish people (though undoubtedly there is a minority faction that does) – only that they consider themselves superior. It’s not fascism (except for the extremes), it’s pomposity. Unionists aren’t Nazis – they’re snoots. And if it was ever legitimate, that snootiness is almost touchingly misplaced today.

    “they all remained as convinced as any Paisleyite of the intrinsic inferiority of the rest of the Irish people”

    You follow this up with a description of the “rest of the Irish people” as “natives”. You also fit in the old “colonial” description of Unionists. Remind me, who has the superiority complex? I know from previous debates with you Billy that you know that the term “native” confers a certain amount of ownership and that “colonial” gives the impression of foreigner. I also know, that you know that Irish history is a wee bit more complex than this and that we all have ownership of this land. But you persist with the notion. Why?

    Ah, meant to put the word “Natives” inside inverted commas, to show that I was employing some rhetorical licence in using it. The whole unionists/nationalists as colonial/native is a whole other can of worms…

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Darth

    “Actually Congal I believe that O’Neill quote to be the most shameful ever uttered by a Unionist politician, riddled with sectarianism and class superior smugness.”

    So Darth, you have no objection to the fact that O’Neill viewed Catholicism like it was a treatable disease – only that he was a bit smug towards his fellow Protestants? The dehumanising of a people is fine but smugness is “shameful”?

    You have issues, man.

    “And what was his great goal? To destroy the NI labour party which was the only party able to lead those poor RCs out of a tribal cul de sac.”

    Those poor RCs? Now we’re getting somewhere. (You see what I’ve been talking about CC?)

    (Exits to sounds of wailing, gnashing of teeth and declarations of intent to emigrate.)

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Billy,

    So, chronologically speaking, you don’t dispute that Nationalists voted for SF prior to Unionists voting for the DUP?

    “(Trimble) was still, on a personal level, an unreconstructed supremacist, leading a party of unreconstructed supremacists”

    I don’t understand were you are getting this from. Any evidence you would care to share? I could equally counter that your use of the terms native and colonial demonstrates that you consider yourself to be supremacist in terms of your and my Irishness. You later respond that you meant to put them in quotes. But, did you really? Maybe, you’re a supremacist and you don’t even realize it? Having re-read my post. I think I’ll retract my suggestion that you’re supremacist. As it’s quite similar to calling someone a Nazi.

    “Er, the United Irishmen were not unionists. Quite the contrary in fact.”

    I think you know what I meant – that leaders from within the perceived Unionist community have reached across the religious divide. Tenuous I know, but there ye go…

    “It’s the point about claiming ones “grim” actions are in reaction to a preceding “grim” action. The mitigation of responsibility.“

    Except that I didn’t say this. I said that the resultant stalemate was grim.

    “So when the UVF murdered a random Catholic it was a “measured military response”. When unionism throws in its lot with Paisley it’s a reaction to Sinn Fein. It’s the tit-for-tat mindset I was talking about. The reactionary tendency. I’m not trying to link you with loyalist murder squads – just pointing out that your debating strategy is the same. Incidentally, “both sides” has got nothing to do with it.”

    BTW, I think I should explain that I don’t consider the DUP to be the Unionist equivalent to SF. The DUP maybe have a few crackpot fanatics with a religious bent. But they don’t support wholesale murder as a means to political ends. As far as I know they don’t have an “Armalite and a Bible” type ethos.

  • Dec

    CG

    So, chronologically speaking, you don’t dispute that Nationalists voted for SF prior to Unionists voting for the DUP?

    Sorry but thats just rubbish – how long have Paisley and Robinson been MPs?

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Dec,

    I’m talking about the current stalemate.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Congal Claen

    “So, chronologically speaking, you don’t dispute that Nationalists voted for SF prior to Unionists voting for the DUP?”

    No, of course not. That was never the issue at stake. The issue was this – your claim that prior to the rise of Sinn Fein, unionists habitually voted for people like Trevor Ringland, and that they have only become more hardline in reaction to Sinn Fein’s emergence. I’m saying that your argument is bunk. This is the only issue at stake and it doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with the DUP. It’s to do with the calibre of representative that unionism has thrown up in the past. As I have demonstrated, unionist representatives have always been hardline sectarians with a tendency to make statements that made them – and the people they represented – look like supremacists.

    “I could equally counter that your use of the terms native and colonial demonstrates that you consider yourself to be supremacist in terms of your and my Irishness.”

    This is total nonsense.

    “You later respond that you meant to put them in quotes. But, did you really?”

    Yes. Now please let it go.

    “Maybe, you’re a supremacist and you don’t even realize it?”

    No I’m not.

    “Having re-read my post. I think I’ll retract my suggestion that you’re supremacist. As it’s quite similar to calling someone a Nazi.”

    No it’s not. The conceits underlying the philosophy of the Nazis were not particularly unique but their crimes were. (Well, maybe the Mongols could give them a run for their money.) People harbour conceits of their own superiority over the silliest things – wealth, material possessions, nationality, race, religion, education, choice of consumer products. With unionists, it’s the sense of the superiority of “Britishness”, whatever the fuck that is. (They know least of all.)

    “Er, the United Irishmen were not unionists. Quite the contrary in fact.” I think you know what I meant – that leaders from within the perceived Unionist community have reached across the religious divide. Tenuous I know, but there ye go…”

    No, I can’t let that one go. I’m not talking about Protestants, I’m talking about unionists. The United Irishmen were not unionists, even if their successor generations largely were. They don’t enter into the equation. It’s not Protestantism that inculcates a superiority complex in people here – it unequivocally is unionism.

    I’m not talking about “reaching across the divide”. I’m talking about a basic acknowledgement of the fact that the rest of the Irish people are deserving of respect, and are deserving of better than to be viewed as “lovely little people” whose success can only be explained by their having a benefactor. I’m talking about an acknowledgement that the assumptions behind those old anti Home Rule posters showing Donegall Place as a wasteland were and are wrong. What else is the myth of EU bankrolling but a denial of this? What is partition but a denial of this? I’m talking about a basic acknowledgement that the Irish people are worthy of, and their interests are best served by independence. I’m talking about the things that unionism has never acknowledged – and that by definition is cannot.

    “BTW, I think I should explain that I don’t consider the DUP to be the Unionist equivalent to SF. The DUP maybe have a few crackpot fanatics with a religious bent. But they don’t support wholesale murder as a means to political ends. As far as I know they don’t have an “Armalite and a Bible” type ethos.”

    The DUP was able to rely on the state to do most of unionism’s killings, and also played footsy with the killing squads when it suited. So let’s dispense with any suggestion that the DUP or unionism has moral superiority. Unionism had the apparatus of the state, and STILL it had large and murderous paramilitary gangs. Say the unionist people had been without state support – do you think they would have been morally above throwing their support behind an illegal military force. (Clue – see 1912 for guidance.)

  • slug

    Billy

    You wrote: “With unionists, it’s the sense of the superiority of “Britishness”, whatever the f*** that is. (They know least of all).”

    Billy, I would just like to come back to you on this particular point. Let’s look at the theme of the thread and its starting point. It is that of Trevor Ringland’s “One Small Step” campaign.

    One of the key things about One Small Step as I understand it is that it’s about starting to respect and even enjoy tasting a bit the things that people of different upbringings value.

    Britishness is clearly something that the unionist people value and I believe that the practice of questioning it, just as any questioning of Irishness, its probably well past its sell by date in this new era. In the Northern Ireland envisaged by the One Small Step campaign, people start to tolerate, appreciate and ultimately respect all these different identites. Let a thousand flowers bloom!

    The most important word there in that paragraph, if you asked me to pick out one, is probably respect, and we all have to stretch ourselves to behave in a respectful way.

    Part of being respectful is not thinking someone elses values and perspective is inferior or to be belittled – as you have been at pains to establish in this thread.

    We all came to hold the identies we have through different routes. For instance I don’t really see my own identity as Irish. Thats not to say that I disrespect the Irish identity that you hold.

    Annother example of a disrespectful attitude, as you yourself mention, is a patronising tone.

    Lets now cast our eyes up to the quote that I plucked, perhaps unfairly, from your post. It may be that you wrote the above in a somewhat aggressive or indeed angry state of mind, and it may be that you feel provoked or upset by something another poster wrote. Many people on Slugger find they do this.

    But I suppose where I come in is that I do think that it would be great to think big here, particlarly in light of the topic of this thread. Lets think in the kind of way that Tervor Ringland wants us to. The values of the One Small Step campaign would include, as a starting point, each side in the binary NI divide accepting the other side’s definition of its own identity.

    I realise that this can be hard because I find it hard to live up to the challenge of One Small Step. The Britishness that unionists hold dear appears to be something that nationalists question. But the One Small Step campaign asks each side to stretch itself. As Niall said above, it should not be easy for either side. Both sides have to take a small step. One small step is not about one side taking a small step to the other. Its about both sides taking a small step towards each other.

    Here endeth todays sermon!

  • Realist

    “Realist, you didn’t answer, why should they ditch it?”

    Maca,

    I thought that was obvious…there is absolutely no need for a rule to be in place. By removing the rule, it gives choice. It does not mean that all GAA grounds have to be opened up to all and sundry.

    Dec,

    “Not everything the GAA does is designed to infuriate Unionists.”

    I have never suggested that to be the case.

    “Try to bear in mind that on the Island of Ireland who the GAA’s main sporting competitors are.”

    Yes, indeed….and you should remember that that cuts more than one way.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Billy,

    “It’s to do with the calibre of representative that unionism has thrown up in the past. As I have demonstrated, unionist representatives have always been hardline sectarians.”

    And in response I’ve given you examples where the hand of friendship was held out. That you choose to ignore them is up to you. But please don’t expect everyone else to share your fantasies…

    “With unionists, it’s the sense of the superiority of “Britishness”, whatever the fuck that is. (They know least of all.)”

    Well, let me explain then. These islands have been known collectively as the British Isles for millenia…

    “Throughout Book 4 of his Geography, Strabo is consistent in spelling the island Britain (transliterated) as Prettanikee; he uses the terms Prettans or Brettans for the islands as a group. For example, in Geography 2.1.18, “…οι νοτιωτατοι των Βρηττανων βορηιοτηροι τουτον ηισιν”. (…the most southern of the Brettans are further north than this). He was writing around AD 10, although the earliest surviving copy of his work dates from the 6th century.

    Pliny the Elder writing around AD 70 uses a Latin version of the same terminology in section 4.102 of his Naturalis Historia. He writes of Great Britain: Albion ipsi nomen fuit, cum Britanniae vocarentur omnes de quibus mox paulo dicemus. (Albion was its own name, when all [the islands] were called the Britannias; I will speak of them in a moment). In the following section, 4.103, Pliny enumerates the islands he considers to make up the Britannias, listing Great Britain, Ireland, and many smaller islands.

    Ptolemy is quite clear that Ireland – he calls it Hibernia – belongs to the group he calls Britannia. He entitles Book II, Chapter 1 of his Geography as Hibernia, Island of Britannia.”

    Therefore, I consider myself to be British. I also consider myself to be Irish. However, it is not the narrow view of Gaelic = Irish. But a wider Irishness that recognises both communities. I also consider you to be British. To do otherwise would be to fly in the face of history. I don’t consider Britishness to be superior to Irishness or indeed any other perceived nationality. That’s what to f*ck it is to me.

    “I’m talking about a basic acknowledgement of the fact that the rest of the Irish people are deserving of respect.”

    Agreed. And vice versa? For example, back to the thread, the GAA allowing GSTQ to be played at Croke Park is commendable. Should the IRFU also fly my flag and play my anthem when the island of Ireland play as a combined team. Or should the status quo, which I consider to be disrespectful, remain?

    “What else is the myth of EU bankrolling but a denial of this?”

    From my understanding any EU handout is minimal. Maybe £500 per person in the RoI. I don’t think that explains the RoI’s recent prosperity. I reckon the lower corporation tax is the reason. And fair play to them.

    “What is partition but a denial of this?”

    Partition reflects the wishes of the people of Ireland.

    “I’m talking about a basic acknowledgement that the Irish people are worthy of, and their interests are best served by independence.”

    In your opinion. My opinion is completely the opposite.

    “The DUP was able to rely on the state to do most of unionism’s killings, and also played footsy with the killing squads when it suited. So let’s dispense with any suggestion that the DUP or unionism has moral superiority. Unionism had the apparatus of the state, and STILL it had large and murderous paramilitary gangs. Say the unionist people had been without state support – do you think they would have been morally above throwing their support behind an illegal military force. (Clue – see 1912 for guidance.)”

    Complete and utter ballix Billy! Let’s assume you’re correct. How come Adams and co are still around? Surely, if what you say is true, there would have been ample opportunity at some stage for this not to be the case?

  • Realist
    “By removing the rule, it gives choice. It does not mean that all GAA grounds have to be opened up to all and sundry.”

    There already is a certain degree of choice as you know. Non GAA events do take place on GAA grounds, but I see little wrong with maintaining some degree of control.

  • Realist

    “There already is a certain degree of choice as you know. Non GAA events do take place on GAA grounds, but I see little wrong with maintaining some degree of control.”

    Maca,

    Yeah..keep the main “foreign” (ie perceived British) sports out.

    The rule has it’s place in the 19th Century. There is no need or justification for it whatsoever, in my opinion.