For and against the Casement Rally

The Daily Ireland and News Letter have editorialised about the proposed rally at Casement Park in memory of the 10 IRA and INLA terrorists who died on Hunger Strike in 1981. Daily Ireland calls for the GAA to stand firm and the News letter for the GAA to make a choice.The Daily Ireland editorial rounds on objectors complaining that:

“…[they] had nothing to say about the British army’s still vividly-recalled theft and occupation of the ground in the 1970s. Nor did they have anything to say about the theft and occupation by the British of countless other GAA properties, as well as homes, schools and anything else that took their fancy.”

It believes GAA fans wil react to Unionist objections:

“…with a pinch of salt anything that they have to say to clubs which remained beleaguered and targeted for decades by the British and their proxy gangs down through the darkest years of the Troubles…”

It says any action by the GAA would be:

“…a massive step backwards if outsiders and elements hostile to the Association were allowed to give a lecture in morality and principle to men and women who stood fast in support of the core principles of the GAA…”

It concludes with claiming the rally is:

“Far from being a purely party political event…Admiration and respect for the hunger strikers and their achievements crosses party lines…”

The News Letter seems to indicate a willingness to overlook the strong thread of nationalism in what professes to be a sporting organisation but believes the rally crosses a line:

“…the aspiration of Irish unity does run through the mainstream of associations and clubs across this island. That may be a fact of life, given the origins and early history of the GAA, but what is not acceptable, if the organisation is to be recognised essentially as a sporting institution, is its involvement with an IRA hunger strike commemoration rally at Casement Park in west Belfast on Sunday, August 13.”

It round on Sinn Fein saying:

“Sinn Fein, by its prominent role at this rally, will perpetuate the deep divisions that emanated from this dark period.”

It concludes by callin on Antrim GAA Board to make a choice and:

“…decide on what its priorities are – promotion of sport or a dalliance with republican terrorism.”

Meanwhile the Irish News has confiemd that both the GAA Management Committee and Central Council discussed the rally and believe it breaches Rule 7(a) and Rule 44(a). Rule 44 (a) states:

“All property including grounds, Club Houses, Halls, Dressing Rooms and Handball Alleys owned or controlled by units of the Association shall be used only for the purpose of or in connection with the playing of the Games controlled by the Association, and for such other purposes not in conflict with the Aims and Objects of the Association, that may be sanctioned from time to time by the Central Council.”