School Steps, Back and Forward

A Limavady grammar school has found itself at the centre of a sporting/ political controversy after allegedly reneging on an invitation to the GAA to provide a training session for school pupils in an extra-curricular capacity following apparent ‘complaints’ by parents and teachers. Limavady Grammar Headmaster, Sam McGuinness, has said he would like to see gaelic games being played at the school. Meanwhile, Ian Paisley has been paying a visit to St. Patrick’s College, Bearnageeha, where he was presented with a hurley stick and invited to attend a GAA game at Croke Park by the passionate advocate of comprehensive education and School Headmaster, PJ O’Grady. Belfast’s Unionist Lord Mayor, Jim Rodgers, was also in north Belfast this week, visiting a catholic primary school in Ardoyne, where he handed out prizes for the school’s award-winning Gaels, this time of the handball court. At least that’s two steps forward for the one in reverse…

  • Dewi

    Seems a shame – I’m not a great fan (think Rugby should be compulsory and Soccer was banned in my school) but astonishing that a bunch of parents / teachers can just stop this.

  • Local

    The complaints weren’t apparent. The headmaster legitimately consulted, and was “refused” as it were, by those outside of the school and a few within.

    The Limavady area operates an educational consortium, more of which can be found out about on the websites of any of the secondary schools in Limavady. The three schools cooperate regularly and on a wide variety of subjects. They are held up as a model of educational cooperation in most legislative houses on these islands.

    It is fully expected that students from the grammar wishing to play gaelic sports will be able to do so through the provision at St Mary’s. Similarly, many pupils wishing to undertake subjects not available at the secondary schools are able to do so at Limavady Grammar.

    Limavady Grammar – at the behest of staff and governors – also decided against the headmaster’s wish to become a specialist school in science/maths/IT. Perhaps that was also a step backwards. Though I doubt it would be reported in the “same” “manner” in which the first part of this “story” was.

  • nineteensixtyseven

    I’ve just finished my time at that school and it seems to me that if there is a demand for gaelic football provision from the pupils at the school (which there is) there is no valid reason why the school should refuse GAA training sessions on their part Lottery/part Council-funded astropitches. The school adequately provides a wide variety of sports and it would enhance the open and friendly reputation of the school if it allowed its pupils, who come from both sections of the community, to engage in gaelic sports too. Another sizeable school in the local area and one of the feeder schools to LGS, Ballykelly Primary School, has successfully integrated gaelic football into the range of sports offered with the help of the GAA, and pupils from both sides engage regularly in local tournaments. For the principal to deny provisions because of a few complaints suggests a lack of leadership which is not characteristic of the man and threatens to undermine the good image of the school that it has worked so hard to create.

  • pfhl

    I wish my Catholic school had offered more in the way of rugby. I know many do. Surely offering a broader range of physical activities is to be promoted simply to improve the health of studets and try and maximise the amount of pupils participating in sports. Some sports may not suit others and a broader range may help this. Getting children healthy and promoting teamwork will surely only be beneficial for the pupil in the long run.

  • PeaceandJustice

    The GAA needs to break its link with politics and terrorism if it is to be accepted by the greater number of people in Northern Ireland.

    It would be very offensive to promote it in schools where some of the pupils have had relatives murdered by Sinn Fein PIRA and other Republican terrorists. The same terrorists glorified by the GAA e.g. the Mairead Farrell Camogie tournament, the Kevin Lynch Park, the Michael McVerry Cup, the Gerard and Martin Harte Memorial Cup for U12s etc

    It also needs to end the practice of flying the flag of the RoI and playing the military Soldier’s Song in Northern Ireland.

  • LGS

    “It is fully expected that students from the grammar wishing to play gaelic sports will be able to do so through the provision at St Mary’s. Similarly, many pupils wishing to undertake subjects not available at the secondary schools are able to do so at Limavady Grammar. ”

    Ehh? I left LGS a coupla years ago. No mention was ever made of going to St Mary’s to play gaa. And there were no pupils from St Mary’s or the high school taking subjects at LGS.

    You seem to be talking through your hat my dear.

    I wonder what aul Stevie Barr makes of the whole episode.

  • I played rugby at secondary school because the Catholic Grammar School I attended had strong links with a local rugby club. It’s pity that Limavady Grammar’s hanger-on division seems to have bigot problems doing the same sort of thing with the Derry GAA.

    And in despatches, PJ O’Grady is probably the best head teacher in NI. He has turned a sink school into one that moves dozens of boys, mostly from deprived backgrounds, to university and skilled professions every year. It’s a pity we couldn’t photocopy him 100 times. (Says a local in this case…

  • Comrade Stalin

    I don’t know how many I’m speaking for but I utterly hated, hated doing PE (sports) at school. There were guys who were into sports, and fair play to them, but there were those of us who were not, and being forced to play was, I reckon for many of us, the single most stressful and humiliating aspect of our secondary education at St Malachy’s.

    PE should, in my opinion *not* be pasrt of the cirriculum, and headmasters should *not* be permitted to extract people from their classes, and let them skip stuff, purely on the basis that they’re on the team.

  • willis

    P&J;’s comments wrt naming clubs/competitions after those whom he perceives as terrorists are fair enough.

    What has not appeared so far is any comment from the parents or teachers opposed to Gaelic games. I thought the North Coast had it’s fair share of loyalist rentaquotes.

  • willis

    Is PJ O’Grady a teacher or an educationalist?

  • nineteensixtyseven

    “Ehh? I left LGS a coupla years ago. No mention was ever made of going to St Mary’s to play gaa. And there were no pupils from St Mary’s or the high school taking subjects at LGS.”

    It’s true that they share subjects in the Limavady Learning Partnership with St Mary’s, the High School and the Tech but the whole notion of sharing Gaelic is a smokescreen because it has never been offered and St Mary’s doesn’t actually have a pitch at the school, LGS has considerably better facilities for it and a publicly funded pitch.

  • Hogan

    Don’t agree with the man in his (according to this thread) comprhensive views but i won’t deny the man is a legend.

    His turnaround of ‘Barney’ was no accident, he did the exact same thing at St Olcan’s Secondary in Randalstown before he moved up the motorway.

    Ran the school with a rod of iron, took no shite, and went on to establish respect for him and themselves in the vast majority of his pupils.

    Woe betide any arsehole that tries to distract a child who genuinely wants to learn at a School PJ is involved in.

    Ditto the comments of Sammy.

  • Matt

    P+J…if the GAA is breaking any laws report em to the police….if children are being denied rights by flatearth bigots’n racists…and you support that denial,just come out and say so.
    You clearly haven’t bought into the ‘parity of esteem’ aspects of the GFA.If you dont like certain flags dont go to where they’re flown,thats your right…just like loads dont go to Windsor…but to prevent others participating of their own free will,well that would be…mmmmm….fascist?

  • Matt

    By the way…someone should contact the Orange Order about this…they’re all on for civil,religious and individual freedoms and charitable efforts for the benefit of mankind…they’d be appalled by this action…would they?

  • GavBelfast

    The school concerned and “the Kevin Lynchs” both hail from the same Borough.

    Perhaps parents and teachers in the school concerned could have a certain coloured attitude to things GAA?

  • PeaceandJustice

    GavBelfast – “The school concerned and ‘the Kevin Lynchs’ both hail from the same Borough.

    Perhaps parents and teachers in the school concerned could have a certain coloured attitude to things GAA?”

    Not only in that region.

    The Michael McVerry Cup – a Sinn Fein PIRA murderer from South Armagh.
    Gerard and Martin Harte Cup – East Tyrone Sinn Fein PIRA murderers.
    Louis Leonard Memorial Park – Fermanagh Sinn Fein PIRA murderer.
    Lochrie/Campbell Park – South Armagh Sinn Fein PIRA murderers etc

    If the GAA wants to be inclusive, they need to make major changes. If it was the other way round and there were cups and parks named after members of the UDA/UVF/LVF Slugger wouldn’t be able to cope with the number of posts from Pan-Nationalists.

    While the UK Government were trying to appease Sinn Fein PIRA by funding the GAA in the past, the current DUP Minister for Culture should stop funding them until a proper equality assessment is carried out.

  • Limavady, the GAA and a neutral sporting environment.

  • Matt

    P+J
    Are you going to anwer the question…’should the children ,of their own free will, be denied the oportunitiy to play GAA if they want?’

  • Peace and Justice?

    Are you an anti-catholic sectarian bigot just at the weekends or is it a 24/7, 365 days a year thing? Every one of your posts is textbook 17th century anti-catholic bigotry.

  • willis

    P&J;Just to remind you about the laws of libel.

    You have no evidence that Gerard and Michael Harte were murderers. Would be assassins certainly. I take it that the rest of your assertions are similarly robust.

  • Gerard and Martin Harte?

  • willis

    Nevin

    Sorry

    Martin Harte.

    Still waiting for that clip to load. What does it say?

  • This is what it says on the site, Willis:

    “A re-enactment of the Drumnakilly Ambush of 30th August 1988, where three volunteers of the Mid Tyrone Brigade were killed in Action. The three were, brothers, Gerard and Martin Harte, from Loughmacrory and Brian Mullin, from Foremass.
    Drumnakilly is a townland between Carrickmore and Omagh. It is not a villiage as stated in the reconstruction.”

  • willis

    Thanks Nevin

    As I said “Would be assassins certainly”.

    I may be pedantic, but being killed in an attempted murder does not make you a murderer.

  • Ahem

    The very idea that a school, its staff, parents and pupils should decide themselves what they want: the grossest outrage yet wrought by the Securocrats upon poor, defenceless Oirland.

  • Local

    “Ehh? I left LGS a coupla years ago. No mention was ever made of going to St Mary’s to play gaa. And there were no pupils from St Mary’s or the high school taking subjects at LGS.

    You seem to be talking through your hat my dear.”

    Yes indeed. You left a couple of years ago. Unfortunately in this virtual environment, I am unable to take bets that by next academic year, the option WILL be offered. Otherwise, I’d be putting money on the table.

    You’ll find that it will be teachers from St Mary’s AND the facilities will be shared. Strange that you didn’t phone one of your mates to get the straight story.

    Frankly, the first half of the original thread is increasingly representative of the tat that gets posted for “news” on this site.

  • qubol

    Willis you can’t libel the dead. unfortunately (but for good legal reason) P&J;can say what she likes about the Harte brothers and the only rule she’d break would be playing the man (which I believe even extends to the deceased)

  • PeaceandJustice

    Matt – “should the children ,of their own free will, be denied the oportunitiy to play GAA if they want?”

    They should be given all the facts i.e. the association of the GAA with murderers, their connection with politics and the flying of the RoI flag as well as the use of the military Soldier’s Song.

    I don’t think many children would want to be associated with an organisation which celebrates the people who murdered their relatives and/or family friends.

    I would like the GAA to move forward instead of pushing an agenda along with the sporting wing. If they are willing to become a purely sporting organisation, then I’ve no doubt there would be a more widespread following. But that means that they need to embrace change.

    Would you support them moving forward, breaking their link with politics and terrorism as well as removing symbols offensive to the great number of people in Northern Ireland?

  • LGS

    Local, is that your arse or your elbow you are talking about?

  • Local

    Hm. Back to school for you. Not many manners taught at LGS. Though they seem to produce good results at just about anything else.

    4 months will tell.

  • LGS

    You’ll never get the knot out of those knickers I’m afraid!

    So pupils from St Mary’s are taking classes at LGS? Or they will be in 4 months time? What is it local?

    Your postings seem to be independent of the fourth dimension.

    And for what it’s worth, the most important thing that LGS taught me was that the bitterest prods in Ireland come from Dungiven. God bless ’em.

  • play the game

    People don’t play GAA, they play Gaelic football.

    Are the anti-GAAers here and elsewhere against the GAA, Gaelic football or both? So if a school has a problem with the IFA, UEFA or FIFA they will not allow soccer to be played at their school. Right?

    We await the school meeting the sporting needs of some of their pupils by providing Gaelic football training from a non official GAA source. Perhaps like most schools from their PE teachers, who as far as I know, don’t need to members of basketball, soccer, rugby or tennis associations to provide opportunities to practice said sports.

  • Considering recent events in Limavady Council I’m surprised that no-one has reflected on the idea of a ‘neutral sporting environment’. Would it not be a good idea to strip out some of the non-sporting and perhaps controversial cultural material?

  • nineteensixtyseven

    This whole thing is silly and an embarrassment to the school. If pupils want to play a sport then just let them and forget the bigoted minority. I thought schools were to promote sport nowadays as a part of a healthy lifestyle.

  • BonarLaw

    nineteensixtyseven

    yes but the GAA is not just about playing sport is it?

    “The Association shall actively support the Irish language, traditional Irish dancing, music, song, and other aspects of Irish culture. It shall foster an awareness and love of the national ideals in the people of Ireland, and assist in promoting a community spirit through its clubs.”

  • nineteensixtyseven

    So…? Just because the GAA will be taking a few training sessions LGS won’t suddenly become Gaelscoil. Get a grip.

  • The Raven

    Personally, I blame the parents.

    😉

  • play the game

    BonarLaw “yes but the GAA is not just about playing sport is it?”

    yes but you can play gaelic football without involving the GAA. Hell I play soccer, rugby and gaelic football with my kids without involving the IFA, IRFU or GAA. So – is the problem the sport or the sports organisation?

  • WindsorRocker

    When I went to Grammar School I wasn’t allowed to play association football……. it was rugby the whole way. I never heard any media commotion about that…….

  • nineteensixtyseven

    WindsorRocker,

    Ignoring the facetious nature of your post, you should have started some media commotion then. You can play soccer at LGS, along with loads of other sports but, strangely for a school with a significant proportion of pupils coming from the nationalist community, Gaelic football is a taboo.