Gregory Campbell hosts Tyrone GAA

The Culture Minister Gregory Campbell hosted the victorious Tyrone GAA team at a reception at Stormont yesterday. Whilst he congratulated the team on winning the All Ireland Championship, he also in characteristic fashion did not avoid controversy. Campbell told the audience:

“Progress has been made and leadership has been demonstrated,” – a reference to the dropping of the GAA’s controversial Section 21 rule, barring British security force members from its clubs.

“However, my views and the views of many are that further action needs be seen to be taken if the GAA is to position itself to play an even greater role in helping to improve community relations.

I would encourage the GAA along with the other sporting bodies in Northern Ireland to continue the good work which they all have commenced and I want to see sport recognised for what it is, without any connotations or linkages, that have been perceived to be a cause of division in the past.”

  • Realist

    Sam,

    “True, the 2 currently proposed sites were vetoed”

    That would be the only two Belfast sites shortlisted from the original list of potential site venues.

    So – we’re agreed. The GAA vetoed the Belfast sites.

    How odd that this reality results in me being accused of “peddling the lie”.

    “Let’s have a bit of sense, I don’t think that the IFA or the Ulster Branch would have the duty of care issues to their supporters that the GAA would have with the logistical nightmare of 25k supporters congregating en mass at either the NF or TQ sites.”

    What are you on about?

    Are you now trying to tell us that the GAA have more of “a duty of care” to their supporters than the other two sports have to theirs?

    If the GAA have any ideas about where they would like a multi sports stadium situated in Belfast City, it would be good to hear them.

  • the original sam maguire

    Well, I’ve tried to couch it as nicely as possible in flowery language but since you want me to spell it out – If I was a member of the Ulster Council I don’t think I’d want to be responsible for the safety of 25k GAA supporters in either the NF or TQ areas given the perceived attitudes of the locals towards the GAA – The IFA or Ulster Branch shouldn’t have similar concerns.

    Whilst the MLK site wasn’t perfect, it certainly would be much more secure from a GAA point of view thus the security concerns mentioned in the DCAL report.

  • Doctor Who

    Up Tyrone

    “So you agree that the only way to be certain of what the GAA want would be to ask them. Everything else is self-serving conjecture.”

    No, they are on record as saying they did not favour a Belfast site, if they have since changed their minds well they are being hush, hush. Maybe you could take a leaf from their book.

    “A voluntary partnership between the IRFU and the GAA is the most likely outcome if the Maze is finally rejected, IMO. It’s called the Law of Unintended Consequences. ”

    lol, lol, what was that about “self-seving conjecture”. LOL.

  • Stuart

    Belfast Telegraph: July 25th 2007

    ULSTER Council officials have been quick to react to the inference that they are against the construction of a new multi-sports stadium in Belfast.

    And Council secretary Danny Murphy has reiterated the Council’s view that “for financial and accessibility” reasons the Maze remained the favoured location for the proposed new venue.

    Murphy said: “The Ulster Council considered the two sites put to us, namely the Maze and the northern foreshore of Belfast Lough. We chose the Maze/Long Kesh site because we believe it represents the best location.”

  • Realist

    In the “A Major Multi-Sports Stadium for Northern Ireland Economic Appraisal for Strategic Investment Board Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure Final Report August 2005”, it states that the potential sites at the North Foreshore & Titanic Quarter were “not acceptable to the GAA”

    The Report also stated that the GAA “would not contemplate” a stadium at the two Belfast sites.

    In the November 2007 Business Case Final Report (produced after the utterings of Mr Murphy, we see again that the GAA ruled out the North Foreshore.

    Can we conclude then, that the Business Case Final Report told lies, and misrepresented the position of the GAA?

    Yes or No.

  • Realist

    Sam,

    “If I was a member of the Ulster Council I don’t think I’d want to be responsible for the safety of 25k GAA supporters in either the NF or TQ areas given the perceived attitudes of the locals towards the GAA”

    What’s the “safety” problem, specifically, of either venue?

    What “locals”?

    Given that The Maze is a dead duck, what venues in Belfast do you think would be suitable for a multi sports stadium in Belfast?

  • stuart

    “”Realist has provided adequate data to suggest that the GAA where against a stadium in Belfast.””

    Irish News: 25/07/2007

    Ulster Council secretary Danny Murphy has refuted claims that the GAA has refused to agree to a multi-sports stadium being built in Belfast.

    Northern Ireland Sports Minister Edwin Poots was reported as telling a meeting of the Assembly’s culture comittee that the GAA ruled out proposed stadia both on Belfast’s north foreshore and in the Titanic Quarter.

    Gaelic games, soccer and rugby would be played at any future venue and plans have been drawn up for a 35,000-capacity stadium at the Maze site, outside Lisburn.

    However, 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 asked to explain why the Ulster Council preferred the former prison site, Murphy cited finance and accessibility for the entire province as key reasons.

    “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.

    When asked if he was annoyed that the DUP politician had appeared to misrepresent the Ulster Council’s position on the issue, Murphy said: “I don’t have a transcript of what he was supposed to have said so I can’t comment.

    “All I can say is that we expressed our preference from the two sites which were put before us at the time.’’

    Poots made the comments yesterday during a meeting of the Assembly’s culture committee, which was called during the summer recess in order to address the controversial issue.

    During the meeting Poots stated that the Irish Football Association was open to various sites, but its chief executive, Howard Wells, had a personal preference for the Maze.

    ……………..

    So the GAA & the IFA both had a preference for the Maze stadium.

    IFA chief exec: ‘had a personal preference for the Maze.’

    Raymond Kennedy, president of the Irish Football Association, said the move made good sense.

    “We agreed that we would probably play seven fixtures – three competitive, two or three friendlies, a Setanta Cup final maybe and the Irish Cup final.”

    ………………..

    A Mori opinion poll conducted on behalf of the IFA Maze sub-committee has signalled broad support for the project.

    In the poll of householders throughout Northern Ireland, 23 per cent of respondents were strongly in favour of the Maze project, 43 per cent were in favour with 12 per cent against and six per cent strongly against.

    …………………

  • Doctor Who

    stuart

    Yes Howard Wells, did favour the Maze and Raymond Kennedy did agree in priciple with the Maze but always favoured a Belfast City site, namely Ormeau.

    Remember the govt. stance on this was “it´s the Maze or nothing”, a bit like the republican stance, so saying they had a “preference” for something when they where offered no alternative does not really stand up.

    As was previously pointed out by Realist the Business Case Plan was made public in November 2007 after the sentiments from the GAA spokesman in July 2007.

    Stuart

    “In the poll of householders throughout Northern Ireland, 23 per cent of respondents were strongly in favour of the Maze project, 43 per cent were in favour with 12 per cent against and six per cent strongly against. ”

    Having troule finding these results from this poll perhaps you could post a link. Thanking you in advance.

  • Realist

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

    So Mr Murphy would have us believe that he wasn’t aware of the “A Major Multi-Sports Stadium for Northern Ireland Economic Appraisal for Strategic Investment Board Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure Final Report August 2005” paper, which stated, quite categorically, that the Titanic Quarter site was “unacceptable to the GAA”?

    Did the GAA challenge the contents of this, important, document in 2005 – on thegrounds that it misrepresented their position?

  • Greagoir O Frainclin

    Hey, do British NI Unionists have reservations about the Irish GAA sharing a stadium with their international NI soccer team?

    Would the thoughts of a multi-purpose stadium where Amhràn na bhFiann would be played as well as God Save the Queen be a bit off-putting to Unionists. (let alone Ireland’s Call)

    Is that what this stadium debacle kinda really all boils down to?

  • Realist

    Greagoir,

    “Hey, do British NI Unionists have reservations about the Irish GAA sharing a stadium with their international NI soccer team?”

    This British/Irish NI Unionist, and Northern Ireland football supporter would have no reservations per se.

    I wonder do many GAA fans have reservations about sharing a stadium with a team that represents the State of Northern Ireland?

    “Would the thoughts of a multi-purpose stadium where Amhràn na bhFiann would be played as well as God Save the Queen be a bit off-putting to Unionists. (let alone Ireland’s Call)”

    Not in the slightest, as far as I’m concerned.

    I’ll not be going to GAA matches, and I doubt many GAA fans would be going to watch Northern Ireland.

    I would also assume that both sports would use the stadium on different dates.

    “Is that what this stadium debacle kinda really all boils down to?”

    No.

  • tim

    “A Major Multi-Sports Stadium for Northern Ireland Economic Appraisal for Strategic Investment Board Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure Final Report August 2005”

    I don’t think the heads of the three sporting bodies had much confidence in anything the Culture, Arts and Leisure dept. did.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/7316553.stm

  • Billy

    Dave

    “By the way, McCrea is of course correct to say that GAA grounds should not be named after members of a PIRA murder gang”

    Coming from someone who has attended and provided spiritual services at the funerals of “loyalist” terrorists and whose track record of ambiguity on “loyalist” terrorism is legendary, I don’t think I’m too interested in listening to McCrea’s hypocrisy.

    Equally, given your sickening rant justifying “loyalist” terrorism, I don’t think any right minded person is too interested in listening to you.

    Frankly, I wish you’d take your apologism for “loyalist” sectarian murder elsewhere.

  • Doctor Who

    Billy

    I don´t think Dave was justifying loyalist terroroism, and after all every one here has to put up with your endless mopes, lies and provo worshiping, so a bit of give and take is required on your aprt.

    Greagoir

    I really could not give a flying f*** what anthems (one unique to NI is needed for NI matches) where played for other sports other than football at a new shared stadium, after all Unionist rugby palyers have stood and endured the anthem of the republic for decades without comment.

    It is unlikely I will attend GAA matches at any new stadium, so im not likely to be offended, unlike the likes of Billy who tunes in to watch Northern Irelands finest playing in their green shirts with their celtic cross emblem emblazoned across the breast, yet still feels sickened by the site of fans supporting their team, “luk at dem sactearin bickots cheerin da sex cunties”.

  • janeymac

    Doctor Who
    “… after all Unionist rugby palyers have stood and endured the anthem of the republic for decades without comment.”

    Not true. Davy Tweed for one didn’t “endure” the anthem of the republic. And how did “Ireland’s Call” come about in the first place, if not from complaints from unionists.

    As for enduring other people’s ‘politics’ – in Anthony Foley’s memoir Axel, he mentions that Davy Tweed was great to play with because he always looked out for all his team mates (despite the UVF tatoo on his ankle).

  • Greagoir O Frainclin

    Cheers Realist and the Doctor,

    You are genuine sports fans!

    “I wonder do many GAA fans have reservations about sharing a stadium with a team that represents the State of Northern Ireland?”

    There will always be cranks who’ll complain from both sides of the NI community but likewise I’d say that genuine GAA sports fans wouldn’t really care about sharing a stadium with the NI soccer team. Afterall, we have had God Save the Queen etc..and “foreign” (aka international) games played at GAA HQ breaking the old “taboo”…… and age old taboos should always be broken!

  • tim

    ‘Northern Irelands finest playing in their green shirts with their celtic cross emblem emblazoned across the breast’

    Dr

    You forgot to mention their English anthem, Unionist flag, loyalist chants of ‘no surrender’ and the fans apeing their English brothers with songs such as ‘rule Britannia’ & ‘the Dambusters’.

  • Billy

    Dr Who

    Please provide evidence of my “provo worshipping” or withdraw that allegation – it’s a complete and utter lie and shows the depths you have to stoop to in order to cover up your paucity of your own argument.

    I think you’ll find my record on either Republican and “Loyalist” terrorism is 100% consistent – unequivocal condemnation.

    I note with interest that you’re defending Dave and his apologism for “Loyalist” terrorism – that ridiculous claim (used by “Loyalist” terrorists) that their violence was all reactionary – uttter bollocks used by people who try to excuse what they did.

    In terms of “whinging and moping” – what a joke coming from you.

    “Republicans are stopping me from watching football in comfort” – yeah right. It’s all the fault of Republicans that the IFA couldn’t manage a piss up in a brewery and that Windsor Park is a shithole eh?.

    That’s a pretty convincing impression of whinging and moping to me.

    If you want to disagree with me over football – fair enough – but don’t accuse me of supporting terrorism again! I don’t, I never have and you have absolutely NO evidence to support that bare faced lie.

  • Doctor Who

    Yeah Billy………….whatever.

  • George

    Realist,
    you keep skirting around the point rather than addressing it so I will ask you one final time:

    Where have the GAA stated they have no wish to share a stadium in the city? Who said it and when?

    You have been singularly unable to answer the question because the reality is that the GAA have never stated that they have no wish to share a stadium in Belfast.

    To say they have is to peddle a lie.

    As for your third party report, just because when the GAA was offered A,B or C they went for C does not mean you can assert that the GAA would not accept A or B (or a potential D, E or F) in the future in changed circumstances.

    To peddle such an inaccuracy is lazy at best, disingenuous or malicious at worst.