GAA row in behind Maze/ Long Kesh, rule out Belfast stadium

The largest sporting organisation in Ireland and the one most likely to put the most ‘bums on seats’ (and, ergo, generate most revenue) in any new multi-sports stadium, the Gaelic Athletic Association, has firmly ruled out support for a stadium sited in Belfast. The news comes as troubled DUP DCAL Minister, Edwin Poots, continues to face internal opposition from within the DUP at the proposals for the Maze/ Long Kesh site. UPDATE …OR so the Minister says. As George has pointed out, the reported comments attributed to the GAA have been made by Edwin Poots today.

  • Cruimh

    OC – you are the local Pól pot, dreaming of taking Ireland back to year Zero. Even your handle drips self-pity!

  • How about the use of OWC flags to stake out paramilitary territory, Realist.

    Or the flying of UFF/UVF/Ulster flags by fans at NI matches? And don’t forget the outbreak of a knife jamboree at a cup final a few years ago when rival paramilitary factions had a free for all?

    Call yourself a realist!

  • Get the rouge mist out of eyes, Cnuimh. I have never advocated any such course. I want the Irish language to be part of the future and, unlike you, I work towards that end. You are living proof that a little knowledge can be dangerous in the hands of a twisted mind…..As for comparisons with past despots and genociders, get yourself a pot to boil your head in…..

  • Realist

    OC,

    “How about the use of OWC flags to stake out paramilitary territory”

    What is “paramilitary territory”?

    “Or the flying of UFF/UVF/Ulster flags by fans at NI matches?”

    What is/are an “UFF/UVF/Ulster flag(s)?

    Are you telling us that to be a Northern Ireland fan, one has to be associated with paramilitary organisations?

    Was the Martin Hurson Memorial Mens and Ladies matches at Galbally on Friday 13 July clear evidence that the GAA are up to their necks in republican paramiltarism?

    Or maybe it’s just a few GAA “fans” are that way inclined?

    Aren’t these pesky Northern Ireland fans not exactly the people you wish to be “united” with?

  • Northern Ireland fans aren’t as ‘holy’ as they are portrayed by some on this site. Neither is the GAA. It’s time to accept differences in perspectives and move on or else remain mired with Cnuimh and co in the primordial slime…..

    You need to live up to your handle, Realist, and accept that Northen Ireland soccer, despite schemes such as Give Sectarianism The Boot (window dressing at best) is tainted in the view of many nationalists.

  • Cruimh

    Strictly seaking it’s gaelic that should be described as primordial OC!

    And for all the oul’ blarney , Ireland’s advancement to properity is very much because it abandoned Irish – as admitted by the Irish Government 🙂

  • Realist

    OC,

    “You need to live up to your handle, Realist, and accept that Northen Ireland soccer, despite schemes such as Give Sectarianism The Boot (window dressing at best) is tainted in the view of many nationalists.”

    I am well aware of that.

    In the course of the next seven days, I will be doing my bit by presenting to kids in Carrickfergus (staunchly loyalist) and the Falls Road (staunchly nationalist) on that very issue.

    Dead easy to hurl insults on an internet board isn’t it?

    Not so easy to go out and do something about it!

    You must also accept that in the eyes of unionists, the actions of the GAA and some of it’s members do nothing for “unity” whatsoever.

  • Michael Robinson

    Al – as I understand it, the issue with Ravenhill is not with the ground itself because as you say, existing stands could be knocked down and rebuilt bigger and better (although Ulster Rugby would need to manage the cash shortfall when facilities were unavailable).

    According to Poots, Ulster Rugby’s preference is Belfast. Was he right or is he putting words in peoples’ mouths?

  • Michael Robinson

    “According to Poots, Ulster Rugby’s preference is Belfast. Was he right or is he putting words in peoples’ mouths?”

    I don’t want to put words into people’s mouths either, and I don’t speak for Ulster Rugby, but I have read interviews from last year with the Ulster Branch CEO and he has indeed expressed a preference for Belfast.

    However I believe this was a preference, rather than an absolute requirement, and other factors such as stadium design, governance and the overall financial case for Ulster Rugby were the key issues.

  • Strictly seaking it’s gaelic that should be described as primordial OC!

    And for all the oul’ blarney , Ireland’s advancement to properity is very much because it abandoned Irish – as admitted by the Irish Government 🙂
    Posted by Cruimh on Jul 25, 2007 @ 11:44 AM

    Irish is, of course, the oldest living language Europe with the oldest literature. And true there was an attitude which equated English with commerce. Michael Hartnett, the poet, put it well: English, a language to sell pigs in.

    But the Irish language also increasingly identified with a progressive Ireland, something which you can read up on in David McWilliams’ Popes’ Children.

  • Cruimh

    OC – Ireland has prospered because it abandoned Gaelic language. You cannot escape that. Neither can you escape the fact that the promotion of the language damaged the 26 couny state, nor can you claim that the teaching of Irish would help foreign language skills – as the ROI has the worst foreign language skills in the EU 🙂

    It’s a nice hobby, it’s worth preserving but sadly dinosaurs ( Oliver Cromwell !) with partisan political motives such as yourself ensure it will never prosper because it will never acheive cross community support whill peole like you use it as a political weapon.

  • Cruimh

    Incidentally – Hartnett was a great poet – and while you bring up his “English, a language to sell pigs in.” remark, made when he abandoned English in the 1970s, you forget to mention that he returned to writing in English in the 1980s 🙂

  • Oilibhéar Chromaill

    There were many factors in Ireland’s prosperity and the abandonment of Irish wasn’t significant. As for foreign language skills, you would have to qualify your assessment with the fact that Ireland’s skills in one foreign language at least, English, are unquestioned.

    The problem with Ireland’s foreign language skills is nothing to do with Irish – except that the teaching of French and other languages is poor as is the teaching of Irish. An improvement in language skill teaching – as is happening at present with immersion teaching in Irish medium schools – will lead to better language skills all around.

    Michael Hartnett is an example of what I see as the way forward – he was a poet of note in two languages and it’s not entirely true to say that he returned to English in the 1980s. It’s not as if he stopped writing as Gaeilge..

  • Dec

    It’s a nice hobby, it’s worth preserving but sadly dinosaurs ( Oliver Cromwell !) with partisan political motives such as yourself ensure it will never prosper because it will never acheive cross community support whill peole like you use it as a political weapon.

    Davros

    I don’t have the figures to hand but I think it’s fairly obvious that the Irish language is prospering vewry well without ‘cross-community’ support as you put it. But by all means keep referring to it as a hobby, if it keeps you happy.

  • willowfield

    Some outrageous sectarian comments by Oilibhear Chromaill on this thread. Things are bad when he has to stoop to blanket demonisation of those he perceives to be “the other sort”.

    If you’ve nothing of interest to contribute to the discussion about the merits or otherwise of a stadium at the Maze, could you not reserve your outbursts for another more appropriate thread?

  • Paul

    Moving away from sectarian muck throwing and back to Poots performance yesterday – its notable that the GAA’s Ulster Secretary, Danny Murphy categorically contradicts what Poots said.

    Additionally, BBC NI are reporting that Howard Wells denies favouring a non-Belfast site.

    Will Poots clarify his position?

    ———————–

    From Today’s Irish News:

    Ulster secretary Murphy has strongly denied the suggestion that the northern GAA body had taken a stance against a stadium in Belfast.

    He insisted that the Ulster Council had simply expressed its preference for the Maze site without ever taking a negative position on a city-based stadium. Murphy also noted that the Ulster Council had never been asked to consider the Titanic Quarter site.

    Murphy said: “The Ulster GAA considered the two sites which were put forward to us, one on the northern foreshore, and the other one was the Maze/Long Kesh site.

    “As far as we were concerned, the Titanic Quarter was eliminated by the time it got to the stage where we were involved.

    “We chose the Maze/Long Kesh site because we believe it represented the best location.

    “We did not take a decision against a Belfast site. We took a pro-active view on behalf of the Council’s need for a stadium and its location.’’

    “When the matter was put to us, the economic argument had already reduced the field to two. The economic argument favoured the Maze/Long Kesh site as opposed to the northern foreshore,” said Murphy.

    “Our preference would be to take in the jurisdiction of the province of Ulster.

    “We cover the nine counties of Ulster and teams from all across it. If the stadium was going to meet a useful purpose it had to be accessible for the all of the teams that play in our jurisdiction.

    “When we looked at the two sites our preferred option was for the Maze,’’ he added.

  • Cruimh

    “There were many factors in Ireland’s prosperity and the abandonment of Irish wasn’t significant.”

    That is simply UNTRUE.

    Dick Roche – 2003
    “Ireland has skilfully used the availability of an English language-speaking workforce as a means of attracting foreign investment in creating jobs.”

    Kenichi Ohmae, business and corporate straegist and author:

    “in the new global economy, where English is the linguistic platform of communications, the possession of English as a first language is a major advantage for Irish citizens.

    and of course places where the Irish language is strong, the Gaeltachts, are disaster areas.

    English is not a “foreign language” – it is the native language of the Irish peoples on both sides of the border

    “it’s not entirely true to say that he returned to English in the 1980s. It’s not as if he stopped writing as Gaeilge.. ”

    It’s entirely true to say he returned to English -he announced in the 1970s that he would do no more writing in English – after all it was in his in his 1975 book A Farewell to English in which he announced he was stopping writing in English that he made his comment about selling pigs!!!! – and returned to writing in English in the 1980s with A Necklace of Wrens (1987), Poems to Younger Women (1989) and The Killing of Dreams (1992).

  • Cruimh

    Dec- if you want an Irish Language act you will need cross community support. If You want Irish to be the language of NI obviously cross community support will be needed.

  • al

    So what we’ve all established is the GAA [i]prefer[/i] the Maze, Ulster probably [i]prefer[/i] Belfast and the IFA prefer

    That said the GAA don’t seem to be too worried anyway as they have some good stadia dotted around already. Ulster are happy to re-do Ravenhill if needs must and the IFA are stuffed either way because Windsor is a complete hole which they don’t own.

    Looks to me that the most prudent way forwards are as follows, in order of preference:
    1) Simply refurb existing stadia (but this leaves the IFA in a pickle)
    2) Have a stadium in Belfast (as it seems to make the most economic sense and seems to command more popular support from polls and comments here in my opinion)
    3) Have a stadium at the Maze as envisaged.

    Perhaps the powers that be should just buy the IFA out of their contract with Linfield and spend a few quid doing the ground up with the stipulation the IFA can host games there without forking out as much cash to Linfield? Do up Ravenhill and agree a deal with the GAA *AND* other sports who no doubt could do with the cash that would probably be saved from now firing millions at a lavish new endeavour in the sticks?

  • eranu

    this discussion seems to have gone a bit pear shaped. i think just for a laugh the NI football team should play all their matches inside the hospital H block while speaking irish to each other 🙂

  • Chris Donnelly

    Don’t ask unionists to consider that a “shared space”.

    Realist
    You’ve a bit of a problem on that front I’m afraid, given that BOTH unionist parties supported the proposals from the Long Kesh/ Maze Group (which both Unionist parties were represented on) for the inclusion of both stadium and Conflict Transformation Centre at the site.

    They would hardly have done so then if they held your view.

  • Realist

    “You’ve a bit of a problem on that front I’m afraid, given that BOTH unionist parties supported the proposals from the Long Kesh/ Maze Group (which both Unionist parties were represented on) for the inclusion of both stadium and Conflict Transformation Centre at the site”

    Chris,

    I think that’s a “watch this space” situation.

    My understanding is that PSF only support The Maze proposals on the understanding that there will be a , ahem, “Conflict Transformation Centre” on the site also.

    That’s not very sporting now, is it?

    No CTC, no Maze stadium – is that not the clear policy of PSF?

  • Dec

    Dec- if you want an Irish Language act you will need cross community support. If You want Irish to be the language of NI obviously cross community support will be needed.

    Davros

    Personally, I have grave reservations about certain aspects of the Irish Language Act as it stands. Also, I’m perfectably happy with English remaining the main language of Ireland. However, the Irish language is a cultural treasure of this island whether 20% of the population recognize it or not and will thrive with or without them.

  • willowfield

    Personally, I have grave reservations about certain aspects of the Irish Language Act as it stands.

    There is no Irish Language Act and there can be no Act until it is passed by the Assembly. We live in a democracy!

    All we have at the moment is a draft Bill – we don’t even have an actual Bill.

  • Cruimh

    “the Irish language is a cultural treasure of this island”

    I agree, the Irish languages should be regarded as cultural treasure – not abused as a political football by the republican movement or the GAA.