The Secretary of State for Wales, etc, Peter Hain is attempting to recover any lost ground in his campaign after the criticism levelled at him in the Sun.. and, reportedly, in some other important areas – [and on his Birthday too – Ed] – by issuing an official statement on the Ireland V England rugby match at Croke Park next weekend, claiming that he had “never proposed doing anything other than attend and watch the match”.. Hmm.. just a reminder of what he had said.. “That’s being considered and discussed, the question of marking it.”..Given that the British government had already ruled out any ceremony the RTÉ headline, “Hain rules out Croke Park gesture”, could be said to be somewhat misleading
From the NIO statement
“..let me be clear: I have never proposed doing anything other than attend and watch the match at the specific request of the Taoiseach and Prime Minister.
“I will be there as a guest at what will be an historic occasion and, I hope, a great game of rugby.
“As for which team I’ll be cheering on, I represent the people of Northern Ireland in the Cabinet – so it’s right and proper, at this match, that I back the boys from Ulster playing in this game.
“Above all this is a sporting occasion between two great friends and rivals. May the best team win.”