Terrorist remembrance and the GAA

The official supplier of GAA shirts, O’Neills, has launched a commemorative jersey to mark the 25th anniversary of 10 IRA and INLA members choosing to die on hunger strike (UPDATE: The shirt is available from the O’Neills shop in Andersonstown). The launch was attended by the two prominent GAA players, the Antrim senior manager and Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams. Gerry Adams argued the shirt was appropriate as:

“A number of the men who died in the Hunger Strike were GAA members and keen players. One such was Joe McDonnell…”A GAA spokesperson said it was not an official shirt but a “GAA-style jersey” and insisted that “”as an association, we remain apolitical.” He said the GAA had no official plans to mark the Hunger Strike. However, a number of clubs are named after Hunger Strikers and at least two GAA clubs, Patrick Sarsfield and Kevin Lynch, have held commemorative events. Sinn Fein has promoted commemorative events so the GAA clubs participation could be a breach of Rule 7:

“Party political questions shall not be discussed at its meetings and no committee, club, council or representative thereof shall take part, as such, in any party political movement,”

Photographs here.

  • harpo

    ‘I think the problem is the Orangies want to drive the Irish nationalist culture back into other ghettoes and so they target any manifestation of Irish culture.’

    Taigs:

    That isn’t the problem at all.

    The problem is that out of one side of their mouths many nationalists have a go at the OO for allowing loylaist terrorists to be commemorated by individual OO lodges, yet out of the other side of their mouths these nationalists defend the GAA administration for allowing IR terrorists to be commemorated by individual GAA clubs.

    Of course GAA clubs CAN do anything they want – they can commemorate the hunger strikers if they want (although I don’t get your point about commemorating Bobby Sands as a soccer player). They can straight out commemorate the PIRA campaign if they want.

    The point is that the GAA will then be in exactly the same position as the OO is in. If the central GAA authorities don’t do anything about this, then the GAA authorities are open to criticism that they allow terrorists to be commemorated.

    Your defence of the GAA in this case could be used in the case of the OO. In similar style OO lodges are perfectly entitled to commemorate whoever they want. Just as you defend the GAA commemorating dead guys who were good GAA members but just happened to also be IR terrorists, people could defend dead guys who were good OO members but just happened to be members of the Shankill Butchers as well. It’s the same principle.

    You are engaging in double standards. It seems that to many nationalists it is wrong for OO lodges to commemorate former members who were also terrorists (and for OO HQ to do nothing about it), but it is OK for GAA clubs to commemorate former members who were also terrorists (and for GAA HQ to do nothing about it).

    Perhaps you could explain how this double standard works.

  • harpo

    ‘The whole point of this story (that is, the version not distorted by Fair Deal) is that the GAA HAS rejected this ‘GAA-style’ jersey. So what, exactly, are you going on about?’

    Aaron:

    I don’t agree that what you say is the point at all.

    The point to me is the hypocricy of nationalists. Members of the GAA have endorsed this shirt, so the only issue is what is the GAA administration going to do about it? Are they going to impose sanctions of the GAA players and official involved, or will they turn a blind eye to it?

    When the OO administration is criticised for doing nothing about individual members/lodges who commemorate loyalist terrorists, the argument is that it doesn’t matter if OO HQ says it is against violence – the fact that it turns a blind eye to such commemorations undermines any such argument.

    So why is it not the same here? Several GAA members have just associated themselves with the commemoration of dead terrorists. If GAA HQ does nothing about that then isn’t the GAA administration open to the same criticism as that leveled at the OO – that while it may say one thing about terorism, it’s inaction to deal with its membership undermines what it says?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    F_D: “PS The shirt photographed was purchased for £25 at the O’Neills shop Andersonstown. ”

    I’m not disputing you, F_D. I am simply stating that the product was not on the website as of last night and the prices are lower than I recall the other jerseys being. However, res ipsa loquitor — mayhaps they did not update the web page prior to the product launch and perhaps someone has an interest in getting these out the door quickly.

    However, having been adequately rebutted on the facts vis-a-vis O’Neill’s, its your point.

    Now, about your mischaracterization by omission re: the GAA… 😉

  • lib2016

    harpo,

    It is not merely the fact that the OO supports Orange terrorists that I object to since it’s exactly what I expect from them. It is the fact that they do it in a place where it is deliberately provocative. By the way I don’t support the PIRA either though I do recognise it’s place in history.

    Wrong to wear these shirts on the Shankill = wrong for the UVF to stage a march past the Short Strand…..and I don’t have any time for eijits wearing Rangers or Celtic shirts either!

  • Aaron_Scullion

    The point to me is the hypocricy of nationalists. Members of the GAA have endorsed this shirt, so the only issue is what is the GAA administration going to do about it? Are they going to impose sanctions of the GAA players and official involved, or will they turn a blind eye to it?

    Um, actually, while I don’t encourage the rememberance of terrorists, I do recognise that there are many different narratives here. I understand why the orangemen remember terrorists, and I understand why nationalists do as well.

    I, like lib2016, object to the fact that they seek to do it in a place where it is deliberately provocative. And have done for years. And pretend that that is not the parades’ raison d’etre.

    There is no blind eye to be turned. What they’ve done is not illegal, and has been rejected by the GAA. What more is there to say – unless you’re seeking to justify a prejudice?

  • harpo

    ‘Orangies make unsubstantiated attacks against the GAA and trying to link the GAA to anytihng evil it can.’

    Taigs:

    The use of the word ‘Orangies’ is sectarian, so I’m not surprised that you use it.

    I only attack the GAA when there is something to attack, and here is one such occasion. There is nothing unsubstantiated here – that shirt exists, and an official supplier of GAA gear produced it. And GAA players and a GAA official turned up at the product launch to endorse it.

    There are clear links here between parts of ‘the GAA’ and this product. I don’t have to ‘try to link’ this product to the GAA because it is linked to the GAA. The hunger strikers were evil terrorists, and this company has chosen to associte itself with them. As have those GAA members.

    As is the case with the OO administration when its lodges or members engage in activities that link the OO to loyalist terrorists, the GAA administration has a choice here. It can either impose sanctions against the compant involved and the GAA members involved, or it can issue a glib ‘we don’t endorse this shirt’ statement, but then do nothing about the supplier and GAA members involved.

    I’d say based on the past it will do the latter. Since it routinely does nothing about individuals GAA clubs or memebers who commemorate IR terrorists, I doubt it will do much here. It will then be in the same camp as the OO with respect to these matters. HQ claims not to endorse links to terrorism, but HQ also does nothing when individual units or members do endorse links to terrorism.

  • harpo

    ‘sooo…
    the Orange order says it is opposed to paramilitaries and condemns their acts, yet the existence of Old Boyne LOL is used as eveidence that they aren’t sincere.
    But…the GAA doesn’t have an image problem because some members-including a county team manager- are present at the launch of this garment, which the GAA itself rightly seeks to distance itself from. I’ve no problem with then stance of the GAA on this, but someone please explain the difference.’

    Right on Darth – there is no difference.

    Of course some wuill claim that the GAA is only a sporting organization, but that’s not the point. If GAA HQ does nothing to stop this endorsement of terrorists, then the GAA is in exactly the same camp as the OO.

  • harpo

    ‘Just looking wrote “disgusting, the GAA once again proves itself to be a sectarian, anti-protestant, anti-unioinist,anti-british “sport””

    Now if this isn’t a sectarian comment then I don’t know what is??’

    Padraig:

    How is this a sectarian comment?

    It’s all true.

  • its fair to say

    I think its fair to reading all the posts on this board that the GAA is at the very least a controversial organisation. I think they urgently need to reform to encompass all of irish society. The 6 counties in the North are too extreme and much misaligned with the body as a whole. And to the guy who showed a picture of *ONE* black man with a GAA shirt, really !!. Do you think that makes it all OK ???, the GAA MUST Be at least 99% white and 99% catholic and it is clearly 100% republican. If we are to really build a future of equals, then im afraid painful reconstruction will be needed, failing that it must be proscribed. I just wonder does the current leadership of the GAA have the vision and courage to lead with the carrot, or must a stick be employed by others. It is essential that change happens sooner rather than later if we are to build on the momentum of the peace process, with the disbandment of the IRA, one would fear another terrorist organisation could rise from within the GAA as alot of natioanlists are beginning to realise that the current SF/IRA leadership have sold them short so to speak, and a united ireland is what, still a few hundred years off at any rate.

  • harpo

    ‘They are not “O’Neill’s,” per se, as O’Neill’s is not selling them’

    Dread:

    Lord thundering fcuk! Is there no length that nationalists will go to in their attempts to engage in denial here?

    Talk about being pedantic. The shirt has been produced by O’Neills and has a big fat ‘O’Neills’ name on the front of it.

    Yet here we have you stating that it can’t be considered to be an O’Neills shirt.

    Are you serious? It’s clearly an O’Neills shirt.

    Talk about trying to avoid the bleeding obvious. Talk about spinning your way out of something. Who cares if this particular shirt is not offered via their web-site? They made the shirt. They sold the shirt to whoever ordered it, so that that organization could then sell them.

    I must say the amount of crap that nationalists have posted on this thread is amazing. Everything has been tried to avoid the isues. First it was denial that the shirt existed, then it was denial that O’Neills had anything to do with it other than manufacture it under special contract (which would still be bad enough), and now we end up at the point where we know that it exists and that it has a big fat O’Neills logo on the front of it, and the latest angle is that it can’t be considered to be an O’Neills product.

    Truly astounding.

  • harpo

    ‘There is no blind eye to be turned. What they’ve done is not illegal, and has been rejected by the GAA. What more is there to say – unless you’re seeking to justify a prejudice?’

    Neither is it illegal for individual OO lodges to commemorate loyalist terrorists, and the OO HQ has condemned loyalist violence.

    So here we are – the GAA and the OO in exactly the same position. HQ is against something, yet individual units are allowed to do it.

    I keep on saying it, but if the GAA is serious here, why doesn’t it impose sanctions on the individuals who endorsed this product?

    Isn’t that exactly what many nationalists demand of the OO in the situation where loyalist terrorists are commemorated?

    Like the OO HQ, GAA HQ may talk the talk, but it doesn’t walk the walk.

    I’m not asking for any prejudice to be justified. There is no prejudice involved here. Both the OO and the GAA as organizations are sectarian and allow commemoration of terrorists. Nothing illegal about any of it, but I don’t think it’s a good thing.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Harpo: “Lord thundering fcuk! Is there no length that nationalists will go to in their attempts to engage in denial here? ”

    Take a look at the time stamp, pumpkin-head. Looking at the website late last night after these gems had allegedly been “launched,” there was zip, zero zilch, nada. No mention of the launch, no pictures of the shirts, nothing.

    Now, you pusillanimous poltroon, if you were paying attention, F_D pointed out the late update, I acknowledged the new information and life goes on. I know your attention span isn’t all that and a bag of crisps, but get over yourself — the information right now was not available when I posted. Please *TRY* to follow the bouncing ball.

  • harpo

    ‘Take a look at the time stamp, pumpkin-head. Looking at the website late last night after these gems had allegedly been “launched,” there was zip, zero zilch, nada. No mention of the launch, no pictures of the shirts, nothing.’

    Dread:

    What nonsense. Fair Deal’s thread opener mentioned both that the shirt had been launched and that O’Neills was involved. Both things were supported by the actual article from the Irish News. Those exact words were used in the article.

    So how can you say there was nothing at the time of your time stamp? All I saw was an immediate nationalist effort to discredit Fair Deal, when all he did was summarize what was in the article.

    And since the thread opener most of the nationalist comment has been about having a go at Fair Deal for his supposed misrepresentation of things. There was no misrepresentation. He simply summarized what the article said.

    There was mention in the article of a launch, and Gerry Adams referred to O’Neills being involved. Fair Deal didn’t invent any of that, did he? So you are lying when you say that there was no mention of the launch or anything else. It was all in the original article.

    ‘after these gems had allegedly been “launched,” ‘

    There was no allegation about it. The Irish News reported facts.

    ‘the information right now was not available when I posted.’

    Some of it was, yet we had people like you going straight into denial mode. If there really wasn’t any information, then what were you all posting about so energetically? What was it that you were denying?

    ‘pumpkin-head…you pusillanimous poltroon’

    Admin. Surely this is playing the man and not the ball. Is a red card not due here?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Harpo:

    When one launches a product, one usually makes it available for sale, if not pre-orders. There was nothing on the web-site, there was some question of veracity, given the misleading headline of the story itself and, feeling annoyed, I went to do some fact-checking on the link that Fair_Deal put up for O’Neill’s.

    Now, low and behold — last night, there was nary a mention of the jerseys — not in the news section of the web-site, not in the jersey section of the web-site, nowhere. When presented with contradicting information, one questions. Now, did I dinf myself in the awkward position of finding out that, despite launching the product on the 9th, they didn’t update the website for them until the 10th? Yup. Did I doubt Fair_deal’s accuracy — partly. It is not unusual for a company to produce goods for another party and not label them as their own. Ergo, O’Neil’s might have made them but, as of the best information I had last night, they were not selling them.

    Now, as it happens, I work in a facility where the firewall blocks commercial sites but not blogs. Ergo, when earlier today, when Fair_Deal added the picture and quoted a price, I said my mea culpas, conceded the point based on what I saw and asked Fair_Deal about my second question.

    Then you, enjoying better information than I did when I made my posts, tear into me for not knowing what wasn’t availble when I made my posts. Look at my handle — I’m a tentacled horror from beyond space and time, not the Amazing Kreskin.

    If I am not as gracious to you as I am to Fair_deal, mayhaps it has something to do with your tone. If you are going to come along after the “moment of truth” and kick the carcass and beat your chest, is it not appropriate to point out that, coming to the discussion late as you have, that matters might not already be settled, complete with acknowledgements of who was right and who was wrong? I know this happens rarely in blogging, but did actually occur in this thread [edited – moderator]

  • harpo

    Several posters have stated that it’s OK for GAA folks to be involved in this shirt venture because Bobby Sands played soccer.

    Could someone explain that to me?

    Also, the excuse is given that several of the hunger strikers class of 1981 played GAA games. That may be, but if the shirt is dedicated to them, then why isn’t it dedicated to just those who played GAA games? Why is it using the logo of the commemoration of the hunger strikes? That includes all 23 of the class of 1981 – those who played GAA games, those who played soccer and those who didn’t play anything.

    That OO lodge that commemorates a Shankill Butcher claims to do so on the basis that he is a dead member of that lodge. You don’t see that lodge do the GAA-style shirt thing and extrapolate that into commemorating all of the Shankill Butchers, or the Shankill Butchers as a group. They just commemorate an ex-member who is now dead. And he just happened to be a Shankill Butcher too.

    This shirt venture has been endorsed by GAA personalities, and they didn’t make sure that it was just a commemoration of individual dead GAA members who also happened to be IR terrorists. No, they are happily endorsing a product that commemorates a whole group of terrorists.

    No nationalist has dared answer an issue that I raised several times. If Umbro – official supplier to the NI football team – was approached and agreed to produce a shirt commemorating a similar group of terrorists (the Shankill Butchers say) and at the launch of the shirt a number of members of the NI squad turned up to endorse it, what would the reaction of nationalists be?

    Would we get the same train of justifications that have appeared on here – everything from denial that the shirt has anything to do with the manufacturer, to the claim that the company is entitled to engage in any commercial activity that it can get, to claims that only the soccer playing members of the Shankill Butchers are being commemorated – or would we get the justified calls to boycott Umbro products because they have helped commemorate terrorists? And would there be the usual chorus of ‘look – it’s more proof of a sectarian team for a unionist ethos’.

    I’d say it would be the latter. But nationalists seem to be scared to address the question in this case. Why is that?

  • harpo

    ‘If you are going to come along after the “moment of truth” and kick the carcass and beat your chest, is it not appropriate to point out that, coming to the discussion late as you have, that matters might not already be settled’

    Dread:

    I don’t think that anything has been settled. After the initial phase of attacking Fair Deal the central issues here have not been addressed by nationalists. The fact that Fair Deal was right may have been resolved, but all that means is that the usual initial nationalist phase of ‘attack the messenger in an attempt to avoid the main issue’ is over. You may see that as things having been settled, but they aren’t.

    We still have the double standard to deal with. Now that the facts have been established, would you care to call on the GAA to impose sanctions on this company and the GAA individuals involved?

  • Miss Fitz

    I’ve had to review a lot of my deepest held ideas over the years, and its never easy. Reading Liam Kennedy’s MOPE article was one of the more life-altering experiences I have had, and maybe now I’ve had another.

    This thread has forced me to do a lot of thinking, and perhaps instead of holding to usual positions, it would behove a lot of people to stand back and reflect also.

    I was stunned when I saw the orginal post, “Terrorist remembrance and the GAA”. No matter how often I see it, the mythology with whcih I grew up has never allowed me to see the hunger strikers as terrorists. I lived through that era, and marched on the embassy, because as we saw it then, brave Irish men were dying for the right to be seen as Freedom Fighters and not criminals.

    I know that I have moved away from that single fixed idea, and believe now that those men were manipulated possibly, but if nothing else I can see how those on the Unionist side will not view them as brave and courageous, but something very different.

    We both have different mythologies, and often what we see on Slugger is the head on collision between these two totally opposing views.

    But to come back to the thread. I grew up in a GAA family, and have been a member for my whole life, in one form or another. Maybe until yesterday I have never been forced to truly consider how the GAA seems to someone else. To me, it is a heroic organisation that has promoted Irish sport and culture through some very bad times. It has always in the South attracted protestant players and supporters, so I have always seen it as transcending religious concerns, at least in the area where I grew up.

    But again, it is now clear to me that my ideas are far from the perceptions of Fair Deal and his colleagues in the Unionist community. I think thats sad, but I also see that it is the reality of far apart we are in terms of where we see our places of safety and comfort in society.

    The only thing I can say in any form of mitigation of my earlier points is that I contacted GAA HQ today, and the ‘official’ line is clearly not in support of the jerseys. But the GAA in HQ does not control what is done at local level and it is very clear that this is indeed a move at local level to commemorate what is perceived by that community to be the loss of heroes.

    That is very clearly not how this is perceived by the Loyalist community, or to many other nationalists who have started to question the myth of the hunger strike.

    Fair Deal, 2 things. OK, I was wrong and the words launched and unveiled were used in the Irish News article. I think what I was trying to say there was that the GAA itself was not launching the product, but fair enough, I did appear to blame you. It does now appear, much to my disappointment that this is a jersey endorsed by O’Neills and the local GAA cumann. There you go, the myth continues.

    The other thing though, is that you need to understand that not everything is inextricably mixed. People ask questions, people try sometimes to deconstruct their views and opinions. Maybe the best we can all do is to start accepting that when we feel warm and comfortable in one identity, is recognise that by it’s nature is threatening to some one else.

    If nothing else this proves we have a long way to go in understanding each other’s traditions and fixed opinions. Maybe if I can understand that something so non-threatening to me is hugely threatening to someone else, its a move in the right direction?

  • lib2016

    Republicanism is about fighting sectarianism, among many other evils. To equate unionism and it’s attempt to perpetuate sectarianism with republicanism and it’s attempt to democratise society and introduce a much needed equality to it is wrong.

    The people, like Martin Luther King and Mandela who fought racism were called racists themselves and portrayed as anti-white.

    If unionists use the same tactics against Irish republicans, and even against British parliamentarians, its no surprise to anybody. Certainly not the Irish or the British.

    I judge people by their friends and I prefer Mandela to the BNP. Unionists need to face up to the reason why they are not taken seriously – and they don’t have much time left in which to do it.

  • Miss Fitz

    Lib
    Seriously, read the bit about myth-making there above ye.

    This is mote and beam stuff. We cannot as a nationalist people demonise and criticise the unionist population and then say we arent sectarian…….

    I’m all for an Ireland of Equals, but the bit thats missing is that to get there, it has to be on an equally agreed platform. We need to start understanding that our stories are not acceptable to other people and that we need to listen to the other side of the argument for a bit.

    The past is behind us now, and not one of us can go back and change any of it. What we need to agree or explore is whether or not we can leave any of it behind.

  • the real facts

    Lib2516, “Republicanism is about fighting sectarianism, among many other evils”

    Utter and total crap, I could say the Fight of loyalism is One for breaking the shackles of opression, but we all know that it would be as accurate as your quote, i.e. utter bollocks

    The Flavour of “Republicans” that many protestants and catholics savoured over the last 30 years was one of rabid sectaranism, and still the legacy of this “Republicanism” of which you espouse is still turning the knife, eg the McConville case. I dont like saying this, but im gald people like you will never live to see a united ireland, you dont deserve it.

  • the real facts

    PS I forgot to say as a unionist, Miss Fitz is one of the most sensible posters on this site. i really respect her ability to really open her mind to other viewpoints, and really analyse facts objectively and honestly, a truly noble trait i must say. Sadly others minds (on both sides) are entrenched for life it seems.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Harpo: “We still have the double standard to deal with. Now that the facts have been established, would you care to call on the GAA to impose sanctions on this company and the GAA individuals involved? ”

    What double-standard? Your bastards are sectarian, my bastards are sectarian. My bastards say they’re not, your bastards say they’re not.

    Your bastards lie, my bastards lie. Looks like perfect parity to me.

    As for the GAA sanctioning these fellows, I would say it depends on how one reads the rule quoted by Fair_Deal. They are commemorating those that some, but certainly not all, consider “the honored dead.” Now, a decent argument can be made that by appearing with Martin and Gerry, they over-stepped and deserve punishment. Or, frankly, one could make a cute arguement not unlike yours that all they are doing is commemorating the “honored dead” and to honor some and leave some out would have just been a damn shame.

    Frankly, I would prefer, as stated previously, that the law-breakers on both sides be dealt with… frankly, I’d love to get to a place where a non-violent harangue about sportswear was the biggest cross-community problem.

  • fair_deal

    Harpo

    Thanks for the concern but I don’t see the need for any cards. The “ducking and diving” keeps me on my toes. I also can’t believe I spent £25 on a top I’ll never wear to win an argument and I’m skint this month after I paid for my Lodge to get a band for the Somme parade. I really do need to get out more 😉

    DC

    As I said to Aaron the GAA official denial is included and directly quoted in the thread and is in the story linked in the first sentence.

  • lib2016

    Miss Fitz,

    I’m Irish and republican. If other people wish to be British that quite acceptable to me and I strongly approve of the GFA which embodies that tolerant approach.

    Unionism is quite a different kettle of fish. There are no ‘Ulster British’ left since their attempt to build a nonsectarian unionism has been rejected and we are left with an Ulster Loyalist identity which is racist and sectarian and which I believe should be rejected by any self-respecting person.

    Germany has had three ‘offical’ belief systems within living memory. My complete rejection of German Nazism or German communism depends on my belief that the liberal democracy of the German Republic is broadly right for our times.

    Similarly my rejection of unionism depends on my belief in democracy and decency. Sorry, the KAI thread was a very chastening experience. The Brits have already seen what is only dawning on me now.

    These guys aren’t just an embarrassment – they’re dangerous.

  • Prince Eoghan

    Let’s examine the situation here. The hunger strikers are to be remembered by issue of a gaelic football type top. So what is the problem? I think it is a great idea, hopefully the proceeds will go to the families of these brave men.

    I have noticed this week that the massive and on-going whataboutery vis-a-vis the supremacist orange order and Ireland’s premier sporting association, is gaining momentum. I suppose the big lies are easier to swallow, but this one is a joke right? FD makes no bones about his defence of the OO, fair play to him. He does so by often dodging or changing the shape of the ball by mind-bending fan-dancing and pedantry. That is his choice and so far he has not faltered(that I’ve seen) in his defence. It is no surprise that he would seek to stoke the fire against a naturally Nationalist organisation, as it adds in depth defence to his arguments. I just hope that Harpo has 999 on speed-dial as he sounds ready to have a coronary.

    Unionists bye and large reject Irish gaelic culture, so it is not a surprise that they reject gaelic sports. Again this is their choice, they seem to have no problems(young Prods, that is) playing these sports in Donegal. A family that I spoke to when mentioning the local Prod population said that all was well, and that their grandson plays gaelic with the local Prod youth.

    The fact is that I have seen the word terrorist so casually displayed here. No-one has sought to point out that Nationalists in general don’t regard these men as terrorists, and Republicans quite rightly venerate the sacrifice. The mass whataboutery seeks to ally Loyalist Paramilitaries with the hunger-strikers and the GAA with the OO. The comparison is laughable on any level. The 10 gave their lives in greater hope of a better Ireland for all. Loyalists killed Catholics for an antiquated idea of loyalty to a state that doesn’t want them. There has been screeds and screeds written here about the OO, needless to say that the GAA has no bar on anyones religious affiliation, and as far as I know, all are welcome.

    Again I re-iterate my belief that this thread is in reality just a mass attempt at whataboutery, with the express intention to take the heat from the disgracefully sectarian OO. The attacks on the GAA reminds me of a line from “Only our rivers run free” it goes;
    “Oh the strangers came and tried to teach us their ways, they scorned us just for being what we are……”

    About as much chance of lighting a penny candle from a star with this one as well.

  • Miss Fitz

    FD

    I’ll be looking out for you in Kilkeel at the bonfire, with you in the shirt……..

  • harpo

    ‘No matter how often I see it, the mythology with whcih I grew up has never allowed me to see the hunger strikers as terrorists.’

    Miss F:

    That’s your problem. They were terrorists. ‘Brave Irish Freedom Fighters’ wouldn’t bomb a furniture shop, as skinny Booby Sands did. That’s terrorism, or war crime if you think there was a war on.

    ‘The only thing I can say in any form of mitigation of my earlier points is that I contacted GAA HQ today, and the ‘official’ line is clearly not in support of the jerseys. But the GAA in HQ does not control what is done at local level and it is very clear that this is indeed a move at local level to commemorate what is perceived by that community to be the loss of heroes.’

    Funny – that’s exactly what the OO says when challenged about the commemoration by one lodge of a guy who happened to be a Shankill Butcher. ‘HQ doesn’t control the local level.’

    ‘It does now appear, much to my disappointment that this is a jersey endorsed by O’Neills and the local GAA cumann. There you go, the myth continues.’

    It’s no myth. It’s fact. Various GAA clubs and individuals are all for commemorating terrorists.

    ‘The other thing though, is that you need to understand that not everything is inextricably mixed.’

    Well that’s an odd view. Now that the facts have been established we are back to the usual nationalist requests for consideration of context, or as one other nationalist poster put it, that we ‘recognise that there are many different narratives here’.

    I say it’s odd because when it comes to anything to do with loyalists, no such consideration is given. Loyalists are just uniformly condemned as being evil and all else follows from that assumption. No consideration of context, or no consideration of different narratives. So in a situation like Holy Cross it is simply a case of bad loyalists attacking poor nationalists, including children. Any asking about why they attacked the nationalists is howled down, as there can be no deviation from the ‘evil loyalists’ script.

    It’s the same here. Now that it has been established that there is involvement in commemorating IR terrorists on the part of local GAA folks and an official supplier, we are asked to consider context, different narratives and all the other horseshit that deflects from the central issue.

    Parts of the GAA are clearly mixed up with terrorists here, so the GAA HQ has a choice. They can take the OO stance of ‘we can’t do anything about local issues’ or they could set a standard for once. Given that some part of the GAA is involved in commemorating the hungerstrikers.

    For the record I’m against the traditional stance by the OO and the GAA that they can’t control local matters. If that’s the case then they should take steps to correct that.

    It isn’t good enough to say things like ‘we as an organization aren’t officially commemorating the hunger strikers’, when many GAA clubs are clearly doing so.

    ‘Maybe if I can understand that something so non-threatening to me is hugely threatening to someone else, its a move in the right direction?’

    Understanding is one thing, but how about some action? Call the GAA HQ back and demand sanctions against those GAA individuals and O’Neills.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Harpo: “Funny – that’s exactly what the OO says when challenged about the commemoration by one lodge of a guy who happened to be a Shankill Butcher. ‘HQ doesn’t control the local level.’ ”

    Then why all the fuss? Like I said, your bastards do it and my bastards do it, and then accuse the other of doing what they say they don’t do. Where is the double standard?

  • Aaron_Scullion

    Fair Deal

    Again, you say – “As I said to Aaron the GAA official denial is included and directly quoted in the thread and is in the story linked in the first sentence.”

    Just answer this – why did you not make the denial visible to all on the first read? Was it deliberate, or a oversight?

    Harpo,

    Understanding is one thing, but how about some action? Call the GAA HQ back and demand sanctions against those GAA individuals and O’Neills.

    You are making some ridiculous claims.

    I see you haven’t bothered to respond to this point I made

    Um, actually, while I don’t encourage the rememberance of terrorists, I do recognise that there are many different narratives here. I understand why the orangemen remember terrorists, and I understand why nationalists do as well.

    I, like lib2016, object to the fact that they seek to do it in a place where it is deliberately provocative. And have done for years. And pretend that that is not the parades’ raison d’etre.

    There is no blind eye to be turned. What they’ve done is not illegal, and has been rejected by the GAA. What more is there to say – unless you’re seeking to justify a prejudice?

    Of course, that didn’t quite fit your carefully selected set of grievences..

  • lib2016

    “Where is the double standard?”

    Unionists know that their sectarian racism is outdated and no longer acceptable. They may post their real beliefs on the Love Ulster site but the same people come on here and post and very different story.

    Certainly there are Irish republican versions of the same ideology for which there is no defence available and which I condemn but by and large republicanism is about building a better society for all.

  • fair_deal

    Aaron

    “Was it deliberate, or a oversight?”

    Neither. Logic. The first paragraph deals with the launch itself. The second paragraph deals with the GAA’s reaction to the launch and information on similar Hunger Strike commemoration by GAA Clubs.

  • Aaron_Scullion

    So it was deliberate.

    You agree that you thought it was more important to highlight the actions of a minority of GAA members than it was to highlight the rejection of those actions by the organisation at large?

  • tim

    “I’m skint this month after I paid for my Lodge to get a band for the Somme parade.”

    Fair_Deal

    I hope it wasn’t one of those paramilitary bands !!

  • Nevin

    [i]However, GAA spokesman Fergal Magill said the association “had no plans to commemorate the hunger strikes”.[/i]

    Aaron, it seems the shirt affair isn’t an isolated incident. Should Magill express HQ’s view on those clubs that have banded together to arrange GAA tournaments to commemorate the Hunger Strike anniversary?

    Do you suppose any clubs have had the bad taste to arrange a dinner as part of the commemoration?

  • Haven’t been around for a while, but I’m delighted to see that FD has blogged this.

    To those who are giving him a hard time for not including CLG’s statement in the first line, catch a grip of yourselves. Do you not remember primary school advice – ‘always read the question’?

    Also, FD is right – the real story here is not CLG’s statement but the involvement of senior county players and managers in the shirt’s launch. To my mind, that’s a total disgrace.

    I remember not so long ago when Gerry Adams’ colleagues in the Provisional Movement treated Casement Park as an ATM, ripping off the club and gate on a regular basis, stealing from CLG and its patrons. Mickey Culbert’s decision to throw the weight of his position behind the latest provo culture-grab is an insult to the real Gaels of West Belfast.

    Culbert’s absolute lack of judgement off the field is now almost as bad as his performance on it.

  • fair_deal

    Aaron

    Please provide me with the liberty of choosing my own words.

    I saw a story that interested me enough to create a thread. In drafting that thread I wrote about an event itself, added the official reaction to that event then provided some examples of how the official denials did not fit with the actions of others within the GAA. I presented it in a format I believed fitted the guidelines issued to a blogger on this site.

    A key focus of the debate centred on what exact role O’Neills had played in all this. I then researched additional information in response to that.

    That is the beginning middle and end of it.

    If you wish to engage in semiotic or a quasi-psychological analysis who/what/where/when/how/why I wrote what I wrote so be it. However, I suspect as you keep returning to this theme no matter what I say a suspicion will remain in your mind. Again so be it, believe what you want to believe.

  • Nevin

    Miss Fitz, do you suppose Gerry will be awarding shirts to the winners of the Martin Hurson commemoration football matches (jpg image) at Galbally Pearses’ ground?

  • harpo

    ‘The 10 gave their lives in greater hope of a better Ireland for all.’

    Prince:

    No they didn’t. They killed themselves in an atttempt to gain preferential prison conditions for themselves.

    ‘No-one has sought to point out that Nationalists in general don’t regard these men as terrorists’

    Wrong. Several posters have, and I’d agree that this is exactly what nationalists in general see these guys as. But there’s the problem – they were terrorists. They were the people who carried out Kingsmills, La Mon House, Enniskillen, Warringtom etc etc. Nationalists may have invented a nice fantasy world where some faceless entity called the PIRA carried out these atrocities, and that this entity had nothing to do with IR prisoners, but it’s crap. The IR prisoners were the people who carried out atrocity after atrocity.

    Yet unionists are expected to have respect for these terrorists. I don’t see why, and I don’t see why this nationalist assumption that they weren’t terrorists should be swallowed without challenge. Nationalists may have deluded themselves into a picture of brave freedom fighters, but the rest of us aren’t buying it. Skinny Bobby Sands was a terrorist – he bombed a furniture store. That was his big contribution to supposed Irish freedom. Why should anyone who isn’t a nationalist call him anything other than what he was – a political fanatic and terrorist?

    As for the GAA, so long as it follows this nationalist nonsense line of these terrorists being the ‘honoured dead’, it is going to be called what it is – a sectarian organization that is quite happy having local clubs honouring terrorists.

    So let the GAA or its clubs honour whoever it wants. It will be judged by people on the basis of what it allows, just as the OO is.

    Nationalists in their fantasy world may imagine there is some difference between the GAA and the OO on this issue, but that’s all it is – a fantsy.

    The comparison is not laughable – it’s spot on. You can pretend the IR terrorists were not terrorists, but they clearly were. And so long as the GAA allows commemorations of them, it will be perceived as a sectarian organization.

    Sectarianism is not all about religion BTW – it’s about sects. The GAA can claim that everyone is welcome, but what unionist is going to be welcome in an organization that is openly nationalist, and allows IR terrorists to be commemorated by its clubs.

  • harpo

    ‘Then why all the fuss? Like I said, your bastards do it and my bastards do it, and then accuse the other of doing what they say they don’t do.’

    Dread:

    If you hadn’t noticed, many nationalists on this thread have put a lot of effort into explaining why the GAA is different from the OO, and how doing the same thing makes the OO sectarian, while the GAA isn’t.

    I salute your honest opinion that your side is engaging in commemorating terrorists, but many nationalists are in denial about this. Prince just posted a screed about how it is laughable to compare the OO and the GAA. Maybe you could set him straight. He doesn’t think that nationalist terrorists are actually terrorists, and complains about his beloved GAA being called sectarian, when in his view it isn’t.

    If what you say is true you accept that these guys were terrorists. People like Prince don’t accept this.

  • harpo

    ‘and has been rejected by the GAA’

    Aaron:

    Not totally rejected. The GAA will still not do anything about its member’s actions here. The oficial ‘we don’t endorse this’ is the same as the actions of the OO when faced with a lodge that commemorates a loyalists terrorist. The actions don’t support the words.

    ‘I, like lib2016, object to the fact that they seek to do it in a place where it is deliberately provocative. And have done for years. And pretend that that is not the parades’ raison d’etre.’

    And I object to the GAA doing stuff like this where it is deliberately provocative – in Northern Ireland.

  • Miss Fitz

    I dont know, apart from getting a really sore head from all this, I think I’m getting my annual dose of ‘I’m sane, get me out of here’.

    Does no one else get this? There is blood on the hands of both sides.

    No one is innocent

    No one is noble

    No one is a hero

    It was indeed a dirty little war, and no amount of eulogising, mythicising or romanticing is going to change it

    Thats the difference for me as an outsider, I come with those esoteric ideas, and then you are smacked with the reality and you are ashamed

    You know what Nevin….. one mans murderer is another mans hero…… swallow that and come up with something palatable

  • lib2016

    harpo,

    Why would any nationalist want you to respect him/her? Your post simply doesn’t make sense.

    How would anyone gain better conditions by starving themselves to death? Surely you can see that such an allegation is rubbish.

    You presumably claim to be some sort of British nationalist, though Britain is not an nation, but you condemn others simply for being nationalist. Do you really mean that you believe Irish nationalism is wrong per se?

    The British considered Mandela to be a ‘terrorist’. For most people around the world being considered by the British as a ‘terrorist’ is an accolade. Bobby Sands is ranked with Steve Biko by most of the world for having laid down his life for the freedom of his people

    You consider the BNF, who appear to be unionism’s only friends, as ‘most people’, perhaps. Otherwise your letter is incomprehensible.

    Oh hell! Why am I bothering? Maybe you just don’t get out much!

  • Prince Eoghan

    Harpo.

    Keep that phone handy. I prefer my fantasies to involve dark senorita’s ever so slowly…. Anyway where was I.

    Your haste to castigate the Republican movement, and your frequent mention of “skinny Bobby Sands” tells me all I need to know about you. You have no argument, sure the Republican movement were culpable for a small amount of atrocities. These are nothing to be proud of, and are a dark stain on the honour of Republicans.

    To compare them with guys who did nothing but commit atrocities is a far stretch, no matter how loud or long you shout it, it still won’t stand up. Again if Unionists wish to reject gaelic culture and games, no problem, free country. Playing the Irish national anthem, and flying the flag of Ireland are not sectarian acts. Only in the warped mind of fenian-haters do such things cause rancour. Again plenty of Prods play gaelic games in the ROI, they have experienced no problems that I am aware of.

    I am more than happy to let history judge the iconic Bobby Sands et al, the opinions of haters hardly count. This mass effort of tedious whataboutery to save the OO from further examination won’t work. Trying to demonize the GAA in an attempt to excuse OO supremacists is quite silly.

  • Nevin

    Miss Fitz, neither Paisley nor Hume, neither Adair nor Adams were my heroes. I was much influenced by Ray Davey, a founder of the Corrymeela Community; the parable of the Good Samaritan; and a biblical quote linked to my birthday, “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love”.

  • lets be straight

    [See commenting policy – edited moderator]

  • piebald

    “Do you think that makes it all OK ???, the GAA MUST Be at least 99% white and 99% catholic and it is clearly 100% republican.” ‘its fair to say’

    maybe i shouldn’t have published the link – maybe it does look a bit like “sure i’m not a bigot, i know a prod/kaflick” or “i’m not a racist, i know a black man”

    There are new initiatives beginning to happen throughout Ireland involving clubs trying to get the “New Irish” involved in Gaelic Games.

    I agree with you that there should be equal opportunities for the “Old New Irish” to get involved in Gaelic Games if they so wish but other than joining existing local clubs are there the numbers to start up new clubs ?

    I know someone posted here that some kids from Larne played Hurling but not sure if that was with a new club or an existing one.

    All i do know is that it beats painting swastikas on doors in South Belfast.

    piebald

  • snuff

    Surely the real story here is that Mickey Culbert is a terrible manager who should never be let near a GAA club never mind manage the county side. The Graham Souness of Gaelic management. Stick to the (rather more approriate) day job Mickey.

  • Chris Donnelly

    Snuff

    Rather ignorant assessment of Mickey Culbert’s managerial skills. If you really knew anything about the game, you would know that Culbert took the hardly well-sought after Antrim post following on from his successful tenure as St. Gall’s manager, where he won numerous county Championships, establishing that club as the premier team in Antrim and laying the foundations for their historic run to the All-Ireland final this year.

    Now who should be sticking to their day job?

  • Aaron_Scullion

    That is the beginning middle and end of it.

    Sorry, Fair Deal, no dice.

    The old trick taught to journalism students is..

    Dog Bites Man = not news
    Man Bites Dog = news

    Applied to this context..

    Gerry Adams commemorates Hunger Strikes = not news
    Irish sports company paid to do likewise = not news
    GAA members involved in Republican activity = not news
    GAA hierarchy rejects Republican activity = NEWS

    And yet, the only newsworthy bit of your post is buried in a place where the majority of people who come to this site won’t see it?

    Disingenuous doesn’t even begin to cover it.

  • fair_deal

    Aaron

    1. I never studied journalism.
    2. Newsworthy is in the eye of the beholder. It is why different editors of different newspapers have different content and angles.

    Also your second point is wrong. As the photos clearly show O’Neills branded this as one of their products “the paid to” line doesn’t fly.

  • Miss Fitz

    Aaron
    I take issue with your point about the GAA hierarchy rejecting this issue as news/newsworthy or news.

    It has always been central policy to reject the association with terrorism, and indeed you would find a very different feeling in the Republic for this kind of thing.

    When all the analysis has been done, the fact remains that this was posted as an illustration that there are definitely areas where GAA and active republicanism are inextricably linked.

    As I have said at length here, as a supporter of the GAA in the southern mould, while it saddens me to see the GAA unquestionably associate itself with such ventures, I can understand it from knowing the mindset of the communities and the purpose this is serving for the aims of the political party involved.

    It certainly doesnt make the GAA look any more inclusive, not that there were any great moves in that direction.

    All in all, nothing new here, and thats the bit perhaps thats newsworthy.

  • Aaron_Scullion

    Fair Deal,

    It’s not journalism, it’s just simple story-telling. The rules are the same.

    And yes you’re right – Newsworthy is in the eye of the beholder. It is why different editors have different angles. And why some papers are horribly biased on some subjects, and seek to misrepesent stories. Which is what, I believe, you did.

    As the photos clearly show O’Neills branded this as one of their products “the paid to” line doesn’t fly.

    Kind of a moot point – they could still have been commissioned/paid to do it, even though it’s branded by them. And even if not paid up front, it’s clearly a profit-making exercise.

    Miss Fitz,

    All fair points – perhaps the GAA’s rejection isn’t a newsworthy as I first thought. Perhaps you’re right – the key bit is that nothing changes..

  • Miss Fitz, you said: “Does no one else get this? There is blood on the hands of both sides.

    No one is innocent

    No one is noble

    No one is a hero”

    Sorry, but No – I don’t get it and I refuse to accept it. The majority of people who lived here got on with their lives, tried to encourage a bit of ambition in their kids and worked for their living. In my eyes that makes them innocent, noble and not a little heroic in the context of the times.

    I sick to the teeth of this new NIO nonsense that becuase there were homicidal lunatics on both sides of the religious divide, both sides have some communal culpability.

    I have no culpability.

  • Padraig Óg

    Anybody know of anywhere else you can get them from apart from the Andersontowns shop? They are sold out there

  • Padraig Óg

    Sorry meant to add only kiddies size like the one now being auctioned on here 😉

  • Padraig Óg

    One more time..let’s see if I can get this right

    They(the Andersonstown shop) only have the kids (13-14) sizes left

  • Miss Fitz

    Urquhart
    I get your point, but I was being rhetorical– hence the spaces and dramatic pauses.

    I too worked hard, went to school, raised kids single handedly and did a fine job.

    But deep inside many of us, and often so deep we dont want to acknowledge it, lies the beast of ‘one sidedness’.

    Its not enough to live on ‘your’ side and do ‘your’ thing, for this society to be more than the sum of two parts, we need inclusion, cohesion and understanding.

    The blood on both hands is figurative for ‘both’ sides of the conflict. I mean simply that there are victims on both sides, and take this as a logical step from the points FD has been making

  • Miss Fitz, I understand your point but I just don’t accept it. I can’t see how you make the leap from accepting there were / are lunatics on both sides of the religious divide to accepting collective culpability throughout the community.

    The inclusion, cohesion and understanding you talk about can only ever be built around a mutual rejection of the murderers. Your fuzzy ‘we were all wrong in the bad old days’ rhetoric will only ever be ignored by the good guys and used as a get-out clause by the bad guys.

    What’s right is / was right and what’s wrong is / was wrong. The sooner those among us who want a decent future realise this, the better. I include you in this group.

  • GAK

    The shirts are FANTASTIC me and all my friends and family are buying them!

  • piebald

    On a different but similar note :

    Heads up to all – O’Neills have launched a West Belfast Jersey – Fáilte Feirste Thiar.

    the Blurb :

    “O’Neills have produced a limited edition jersey for West Belfast – Fáilte Feirste Thiar. The jersey has “West Belfast” and “Fáilte Feirste Thiar” emblazoned across the front and a montage of famous landmarks including Clonard Monastery, the famous “Black Taxi” and the Bobby Sands wall mural on the back.”

    Fair_Deal – No call to wander down to the O’Neills shop and purchase same for evidence and photos
    as they are on the oneills.com website – very fetching – get yours whilst stocks last

  • urquhart on Jul 11, 2006 @ 12:45 PM wrote “Sorry, but No…got on with their lives, tried to encourage a bit of ambition in their kids and worked for their living. In my eyes that makes them innocent, noble and not a little heroic in the context of the times. I sick to the teeth…some communal culpability.“ and wrote on Jul 12, 2006 @ 02:08 AM “…from accepting there were / are lunatics on both sides of the religious divide to accepting collective culpability throughout the community. “ and “ What’s right is / was right and what’s wrong is / was wrong… “

    Urquhart, was it not wrong to accept a society back then (from foundation of NI until…pick a date) which was basically immoral, corrupt, discriminary and sectarian? It’s admirable to get on with your life but in what environment? Where does the struggle (not necessarialy an armed struggle, eg. A. Currie against housing discrim) against an immoral entity finish? Are we all satisfied that S. Africa is utopia now that apartheid is finished or should we still review that society with it’s poverty and violence?

  • Realist

    The IFA utilise O’Neills for kitting out some of the Northern Ireland representative teams.

    Given the anti sectarian stance of the IFA, it is incumbant upon them to immediately disassociate themselves from a Company prepared to make profit from the exploits of members of sectarian killer gangs.

  • piebald

    “Given the anti sectarian stance of the IFA, it is incumbant upon them to immediately disassociate themselves from a Company prepared to make profit from the exploits of members of sectarian killer gangs.” Realist

    yes Realsit i agree that many drivers were killed by sectarian killer gangs but is more of a celebration rather than exploitation to have the world famous Black Taxi emblazoned on the back of the jerseys…

    piebald

  • conor

    ne1 know where u cud pick 1 off these tops up? [Answer in the body of the post!!!]