Tesco, Unionism and GAA children

Following on from yesterday’s blog on the 125th anniversary of the GAA, the BBC is reporting that children bag-packers from St Comghall’s GAC were told to remove club shirts at Tesco in Antrim “after a number of very vociferous complaints both in person and on the phone, including one from a political representative regarding the wearing of the GAA shirts while the group were collecting.”

My son recently participated in a very successful and trouble free collection at the same store and I’ve seen numerous other children doing likewise from groups like the Boys Brigade, Scouts and soccer clubs.

Tesco note: “….would be disappointed if we had to discontinue this practice as many charities and sporting organisations depend on this facility to raise funds. It is never our intention to cause offence so we rely on the co-operation and tolerance of our customers as we know that we can never please everyone.”

Update: As noted in comments and now on the BBC report – the elected representative complaining was UCUNF (UUP) Cllr Adrian Watson and his views were echoed by party colleague Cllr Drew Ritchie

Further update: As the BBC have removed their claim on which political representative was responsible it is being removed here also.

Further further update: The BBC has clarified on their original story: “Councillor Adrian Watson from the Ulster Unionist party told the BBC he had passed complaints on to Tesco on behalf of some of his constituents” and Cllr Watson has issued a statement which seems slightly as odds with this “Since the story broke today I have been in touch with the GAA club in question and stressed that I was not involved in the complaint.” (full text of statement below the fold).

Ulster Unionist Councillor for South Antrim Adrian Watson has clarified the position of the Ulster Unionist Party following inaccurate comments which appeared on the BBC website which allegedly came from him.

“A story on the BBC website reports that I complained to Tesco following a charity bag pack were children from a local school came along wearing GAA shirts. This is inaccurate. I and the Ulster Unionist Party have no objection whatsoever to Tesco encouraging voluntary, sporting and charitable groups to raise money in their stores.

“It is regrettable that the issue of children collecting money at their local supermarket has received this much negative media attention. The society we are building for the people of Northern Ireland must include a commitment to civil and religious liberty for all.

“I would hope that this does not impact on the ability of other groups to use this scheme to raise money for good causes. I fully recognise that Tesco are well within their right to do provide this service, allowing school groups, clubs and charities the opportunity to raise vital and much needed funds.”

“Since the story broke today I have been in touch with the GAA club in question and stressed that I was not involved in the complaint.”

  • fin

    JEB, the day the police close off the Shankill road for a day to allow the GAA to play a game on the street is the day you can compare the OO with the GAA

  • John East Belfast

    fin

    Well if the GAA happen to have a pitch off the Shankill Road that the local residents were stopping them playing on then I would be all for the police enforcing the right of the GAA to play on their traditional field.

    Nationalists should stop referring this to bigotry.

    If Ken Wilkinson had objected to the local Catholic Primary school because they were Catholics then yes this would be bigotry.

    However in the vast majority of unionist eyes the GAA are not innocent bystanders – as I said before I am amazed how little understanding nationalists on here are showing for unionist sensitivities on this matter. I feel I have a much greater appreciation of nationalist attitudes to the Orange Order.

    Regarding the GAA just look at how the shirt is used in Queens these days to effectively mark out territory.
    I know students are lazy about personal hygience but the constant wearing of GAA tops throughout Queens is largely an act of aggressive bullying – that is certainly how it is perceived by my son and his friends.

    You can either acknowledge that perecption or you can live in fantasy land – but if you choose the latter you will only express uninformed and unintelligent views like those on here when challenged on an issue like this.

  • P Bradley

    JEB – “constant wearing of GAA tops throughout Queens is largely an act of aggressive bullying”.

    Poppycock – maybe I have been hallucinating but I see young, and not so young, people wearing sports gear everywhere. Most tops from soccer clubs, many GAA too, some rugby. Do you and your kids not notice all these people wearing non-GAA tops? Or do you just notice the GAA ones? It merely defines the wearer as having little sartorial imagination.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    JEB,

    bullied by the wearing of jerseys by small kids in supermarkets and by big kids in college – how shocking for you – its a wonder you have recovered well enough to come on here and share the sheer trauma of it all with us. bravo.

    Its a good job you dont have to put up with sectarian marches down the middle of your street, like some people, or god only know the state you’d be in.

  • RosleaNaEireann

    John East Belfast

    Regarding the GAA just look at how the shirt is used in Queens these days to effectively mark out territory.
    “I know students are lazy about personal hygience but the constant wearing of GAA tops throughout Queens is largely an act of aggressive bullying – that is certainly how it is perceived by my son and his friends.”

    So you would also agree that if Nationalists find the Northern Ireland Soccer shirt offensive The wearing of it is therefore “aggressive bullying”.

    You would aggree then John?

  • the joxer

    ‘bullied by the wearing of jerseys by small kids in supermarkets and by big kids in college – how shocking for you – its a wonder you have recovered well enough to come on here and share the sheer trauma of it all with us. bravo’

    What about the wee babbies in the irprams wearing Celtic baby-grows? Do they scare you as well, diddums?
    MOPery on your part of the highest order, John East Belfast.

  • fin

    No John, I meant the GAA playing on the actual Shankill Road is the only comparable situation with the OO.

    Re the wearing of GAA tops at Queens, thats just paranoia.

  • John East Belfast

    P Bradley, Sammy

    It is all about motive

    When somebody wears a Man u top or an Irish rugby you can state 100% it is because they are fans.

    When somebody wears a Celtic or a Rangers top in a Catholic or Protestant area respectively then odds on they are fans.

    When somebody wears a Celtic or GAA top or a Ranger top in a mixed arena then their motives or suspect.

    Indeed you wont get into most bars or clubs in mixed areas as a result. In addition most work places have banned them with a whole raft of legislation – indeed to make sure nobody feels disctriminated even clud jerseys for Leeds and Newcastle are banned too. However we all know it is really about Rangers or Celtic.

    What is the difference between Cetic and GAA tops in this context ?

    Infact do you think Tescos would allow the loacl junior Celtic or Rangers supporters clubs to pack groceries in a mixed area ? I doubt it so giev me agood reason why Celtic suffer and teh GAA dont ?

    Do you need me to spell all this out to the two of you because you are dumb or because you choose not to see?

  • fin

    John, why do you compare the GAA to everything except other sporting organisations, WTF do you think they were going to spend the money on?

  • John East Belfast

    the joxer

    We live in a deeply divided society.

    We live in different areas, we go to different schools, we play different sports and we support different Scottish football teams and even support different Irish football teams. We give allegiance to different anthems and flags – we are a seriously screwed up people.

    The result of and cause of all those differences is a 500 year bloddy dispute the latest 40 year episode of which we have just emerged from.

    The GAA is a sympton of those differences and indeed has clearly taken sides in the last 125 years to varying degrees.

    Therefore forgive me for pointing out the elephant in the room that the GAA might be part of the problem here

  • John East Belfast

    fin

    I dont understand your question ?

    Maybe in your eyes the GAA is a purely sporting organisation and I respect that – but that is not how unionists see it.

    For instance I said earlier that when the rule change about banning the PSNI from playing came up a few years back the only norhern county that supported change was Down – what does that say to you about it being a purely sporting organisation ?
    ie the members of 5 of the 6 northern counties didnt want the local police to play sport with them ???

    Cliftonville had been playing the RUC for years at Irish League football.

  • picador

    John,

    Perhaps your son confuses the wearing of GAA tops with intimidation because you have him pumped full of shit from a young age.

    Me. I associate the wearing of GAA tops with shit too – pigshit, cowshit, horseshit, whatever culchies like to roll around in – but sectarian intimidation – wise up to yourself!

  • underwood

    The bitterness and rampant sectarianism of the northern clubs and counties, with the notable exception of Down, have long been an embarassment to the GAA. Not to mention the past tendency of some of the northern clubs to act as cheerleaders for the provos. With the very odd exception out in a bog somewhere, you don’t get that in the south.
    So it unfair to label the whole GAA.
    Let’s face it, the GAA in the north has never been just another sports organisation, more’s the pity.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    JEB,

    ….it has been a traumatic time for you – what with all that dreadful bullying that you have had to put with from small children wearing provocative sports clothing… when people speak of the sprit and bravery of the Unionist people I’m sure their thoughts will turn to you and other Unionists who prevailed in the face of such dreadfully disconcerting children’s apparel…..

    Get a grip on your UnionJack knickers for feck’s sake.

  • picador

    we support different Scottish football teams

    What was that you were saying about marking territory with football shirts?

    Maybe you support a crap Scottish football team but I don’t.

    Some muppets would like to reduce this place to a Celtic v Rangers tribal identity contest but I’m not one of them – a third-rate, cringeworthy excuse of a contest. Wise up!

  • P Bradley

    JEB – Apologies for not possessing your insight into the minds of sports tops wearers. As you say I am just dumb to think that perhaps they think sports tops look good. I wonder do any of the GAA top wearers have any soccer tops too?

    Imagine, Monday morning, Sean from Ardoyne – I’ll wear my Chelsea away top because I think I look pretty cool in it. Its Tuesday – I’ll wear my Antrim top to annoy/bully the prods. Jeez, you are right. Nobody would wear an Antrim top because they think they look cool in it.

  • anne warren

    Dear John East Belfast

    “When somebody wears a Celtic or GAA top or a Ranger top in a mixed arena then their motives or suspect”
    Whose motives? The wearer’s or the observer’s/writer’s?
    Outside of work attire and formal occasions why shouldn’t a person wear whatever s/he likes/has washed or ironed/ wherever and whenever s/he wants?

    Agree with statement as modified to “some of us are seriously screwed up people”. Some are trying not to be.Are you one of them?

    Ever heard of the saying “live and let live”? Ever try taking it on board?

  • fin

    John you also compared the GAA with the OO earlier, whats their admissions policy like these days?

    Purely cultural organisation and all that

  • John East Belfast

    picador

    “Some muppets would like to reduce this place to a Celtic v Rangers tribal identity contest but I’m not one of them – a third-rate, cringeworthy excuse of a contest. Wise up! ”

    I so wish you were right but lets wait and see how the pending Euro Election turns out….

    Regarding pumping my son full of shit I can assure you I brought him up to think for himself (often too much to my regret) and he reaches these conclusions by himself

    Sammy

    LOL but I didnt start all this mopery about symbols, flags and embles and it was Irish nationalism that introduced concepts such as neutral environments and parity of esteem into the dictionary. If nationalists are offended by poppies, crowns, Londonderry etc then we can all play the zero sum game.. welcome to Sinn Fein’s new NI.

    Either wat the GAA are part of that mix and there is no point pretending they are not

  • The original Sam Maguire

    JEB:

    However in the vast majority of unionist eyes the GAA are not innocent bystanders – as I said before I am amazed how little understanding nationalists on here are showing for unionist sensitivities on this matter. I feel I have a much greater appreciation of nationalist attitudes to the Orange Order.

    Right, I was prepared to demostrate your greater understanding then you come out with the following:

    Infact do you think Tescos would allow the loacl junior Celtic or Rangers supporters clubs to pack groceries in a mixed area ? I doubt it so giev me agood reason why Celtic suffer and teh GAA dont ?

    Is this a serious question? A club providing a sporting outlet including facilities, games, training and the various costs that come with that against a group that goes to Scotland to watch individuals that do that? Which is more beneficial to the lads themselves and the local community?

    and now this gem:

    Regarding the GAA just look at how the shirt is used in Queens these days to effectively mark out territory.
    I know students are lazy about personal hygience but the constant wearing of GAA tops throughout Queens is largely an act of aggressive bullying – that is certainly how it is perceived by my son and his friends.

    I’m going to be blunt here, the bulk of the boys wearing the jersey are culchies. It’s not intimation to wear a GAA jersey where these guys are from, it’s an integral part of their community and essentially when they get to Belfast it’s a lack of cop on, rather than anything more sinister.

  • John East Belfast

    fin

    I am neither in the OO or feel the need to defend it. I havent been to a twelth in about 20 years.
    This thread is about the GAA.
    I am sure Tescos would have had a problem with the local Junior LOL wearing their little sashs and packing groceries as well. Indeed thet probably would have received a complaint from the local SF or SDLP representative.

    Anne

    The concept of Live and Let live was trashed by Sinn Fein’s strategic opposition to all things Bristish post ceasefire.
    You can react to that strategic move by being walked over if you like but perhaps you might have a better chance of realising that concept by illustrating the absurdities by playing the same game ?

  • Reader

    picador: Too many of these GAA clubs are named after Prods. And bad ones at that.
    Well – yes. John Mitchel for instance. Irish Protestant Republican; and then virulent Confederate racist. Some people just need someone to hate, don’t they?

  • John East Belfast

    Sam

    “Infact do you think Tescos would allow the loacl junior Celtic or Rangers supporters clubs to pack groceries in a mixed area ? I doubt it so giev me agood reason why Celtic suffer and teh GAA dont ?

    “Is this a serious question? ”

    Yes it was and your objection to it was not the point.

    The fact is the GAA and Celtic are both exclusively associated with the Catholic Nationalist community so in terms of being sensitive to community sensitivities here what is the difference.

    And you do no justice to Celtic supporters – many of whom are genuine football supporters (like many Rangers ones I know). However this is the reality of where we live and I cant see how the GAA is different.

    Regarding the motive of Fermanagh and Tyrone Culchies perhaps you are right and I will communicate that to my son

  • Secret Squirrel

    John,
    Forgive me if I’ve missed the post in question, but I don’t think anyone has suggested that you’re in the OO nor asked you to defend it.
    But the simple question remains…. ‘ you compared the GAA with the OO earlier, whats their admissions policy like these days ? ‘

  • congal claen

    Bloody hell, 5 pages and they still don’t get it. It isn’t a prod/catholic thing. It doesn’t have to be about religion to be sectarian. In the case of the GAA it’s culture/politics. But, nonetheless it’s sectarian. When you finally realise this then the GAA can move on and become a normal sporting organisation.

  • John East Belfast

    secret squirrel

    The OO is a Protestant religious fraternity who’s membership is made up of Protestants – just like any other religious organisation.

    Any comparison I was drawing between the OO and the GAA was about which side they were almost exclusively identified with and more importantly if they had at times crossed the line from association towards outright taking of sides.

    Once the latter occurs then they are not just a cultural organsisation but one associated with the conflict. If that conflict is civilised and about argument then organisations like Tesco might be prepared to be associated with one party or the other and fund it accordingly if they felt in a democracy such a party flourishing would be in its interests. However if the conflict starts involving violence as a result of sectarianism and hatred then everyone runs from cover.

    If the conflict is still raging or fresh in the mind then that is going to be a problem for a neutral bystander like Tesco seeking custom from both communities to appear to side with either.

    The GAA, like the OO, the Bristish Legion, the PSNI band, the IFA, Rangers and Celtic Supporters clubs get sucked in to that communal conflict.

    That is what is going on here.

    I would rather we were all confident enough to share one another’s identity but I am also aware the SF twin conflict strategy of advancing all things Irish under “Parity of Esteem” whilst removing all things British under a “Neutral Environment” is raging and hence this kind of thing is going to raise its head.

  • The Original Sam Maguire

    The fact is the GAA and Celtic are both exclusively associated with the Catholic Nationalist community so in terms of being sensitive to community sensitivities here what is the difference.

    And you do no justice to Celtic supporters – many of whom are genuine football supporters (like many Rangers ones I know). However this is the reality of where we live and I cant see how the GAA is different.

    Fair enough John, if you genuinely believe there’s no difference that’s your prerogative. Nothing I say will make you look at this any more favourably.

    However, I do believe there is a massive difference in the analogies you’re describing and it’s not about me not doing justice to Celtic or Rangers supporters. Where I’m coming from is that getting young people involved in physical activity is a positive. Getting them to take a bit of pride in their community is a positive. Taking them to Glasgow to see the old firm is merely a day out. While I’m sure it’s a nice day out if that’s your thing, long term I don’t see any benefits from it.

    Don’t get me wrong, I can understand why Unionists have issues with the GAA, christ, I imagine the GAA is the antithesis of everything Unionists believe in – it’s 32 county, it promotes an Irish culture and heritage the Unionist people want to deny because if they embraced it it might dilute their Britishness. Like I said in the other thread earlier, for me all this argument does is reinforce the vast difference in mindsets between the 2 communities.

  • Secret Squirrel

    ah,,
    right.

  • picador

    Mark,

    What I find strange about some reaction to the GAA and the political/cultural ethos is having to challenge my own club on ignoring this aspect that is meant to be part and parcel of being a Gael.

    Does this mean that you are now promoting gaeilge among the Gaels?

    Great to hear it! Ádh mor leis!

  • picador

    Mark,

    What I find strange about some reaction to the GAA and the political/cultural ethos is having to challenge my own club on ignoring this aspect that is meant to be part and parcel of being a Gael.

    Does this mean that you are now promoting gaeilge among the Gaels?

    Great to hear it! Ádh mór leis!

  • C

    A great PR opportunity awaits for the Joint First Ministers. Marty could collect with the Boys Brigade in Tescos. Peter could collect for kids’ sports at a local GAA club from Belfast in his nearest Dunnes…Problem solved!

  • Dylan

    Although unrelated to this story I thought I’d raise an interesting point I noticed over the last few days. The appalling murder of Co.Antrim man Geoff Kerr slips from the news a mere day after it takes place. Wheres the outcry? Will there be marches crying out for justice for his family? The hypocrisy of the media in this country is astounding. Peoples attitudes to “ordinary” (ie. non-political) murders are unbelievable, unless the victim is a soldier or P.S.N.I Officer ( one of “our” brave lads etc etc) then no one gives a fuck.

  • danielmoran

    picador msg 20…. this tesco business in antrim only confirms what i’ve already held to, that even if the provos hadn’t split off from the dublin ira in ’69, there were the bigots around in n.i. anyway.
    since the fifties paisley was spouting speeches portraying catholics as sub human[while claiming to be opposed only to their church’s theology.] this has carried a very high price as seen at burntollet, derry’s oct. 5th march and the burning out of catholic homes in belfast in ’69. and all before the provos planted a single bomb [in the summer of 1970 – my last full school year]
    Since the peace process – after the shankill and greysteel atrocities – was aimed at ending the military campaign, the agreements that followed didn’t address the underlying reality that this colony was always the’sick counties’ as james kelly put it. So the inbuilt sectarian entity was never changed.
    as david dunseith put it. ‘fity more years might flush it out. depressing or what?

    since the

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Daniel,

    Yip that’s right. It was all just down to those damn Prods. Fek me. 50 years you say? Aftee that post I suspect a somewhat longer timeframe…

  • Danielmoran – simply dont agree. I feel this is an all Ireland problem and (as i posted yesterday but it seems to have disappeared) i’d feel safer waving a Tricolour in Belfast than a Union Jack/Norn Iron flag in Dublin (not that i have any intention of doing so – but i cud as i am the proud possessor of all 3 flags and a nice yellow 9 county Ulster one too) and i’d fear for the safety of kids in Rangers shirts packing bags in Tescos in Limerick or kids from a junior Orange Lodge packing bags in Tescos in Cork. We should celebrate our diversity a bit more and if you ask me we are a bit more diverse up here than they are down there.

    Over the years it will change but it will take a while. There are a lot of dinosaurs all over this island not just up here. It doesnt/shouldnt really matter but for the avoidance of any doubt i’m a Celtic supporter and my last GAA game was supporting my nephew in Breifni Park, Cavan on 5th April.

  • danielmoran

    congal claen. i was making the the point that since partition, the north was a sectarian state. i haven’t claimed that this was from one side only, i only pointed out that paisley made a career out of stoking it in his own community. i don’t doubt there was anti protestant bigotry here in the pre troubles era also, but independently of the conflict that broke out in ’68.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Daniel,

    So, after partition only the north was a sectarian state?

  • Reality Check

    You see just like the irish language, the GAA represents the failure of the british to completely destroy the irish and their culture. Its a thorn in the side of many unionists that their forebears couldn’t quite manage to wipe out the pesky native ‘inferior’ culture and also the glorious ‘reformation’ was a complete failure in Ireland. But by god, they’ll continue Gods work !

  • red

    ignore the troll….

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Reality Check,

    Fek, that means I should be attempting to eradicate myself as I’m British and Irish.

    Incidentally, which of the GAA sports come from a “native” sport?

  • danielmoran

    conal…. neither did i claim that only the north was sectarian. but in the south, they didn’t treat their protestant minority to such blatant abuse of democratic and human rights over 45 plus years. i think it was a serious mistake – from the govt’s own good for the republic to allow itself to be so under the vatican thumb, but it’s govt. since partition showed no bias against their minority as the stormont lot prided itself on here.[brookeborough was only the most openly sectarian of them]

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Daniel,

    Did they not? So why does Gaelic culture so dominate the republic?

  • Folks,

    There is a lot of sectarian stuff coming out on this thread and I think it may now be time to call it a day. For those of you who are making criticisms, anti-sectarianism often has the effect of re-inforcing sectarianism.

    Although I would not wish to interrupt the flow of free speech, I think the thread has reached the end of its useful life.

    If anybody is interested in the subject of sectarianism itself and is interested in gaining some new insights on the subject, I will be writing about this on my blog in a few weeks time.

    meanwhile, it is, believe it or not, community relations week in Northern Ireland. If anybody is interested in getting into the spirit of this, click here

    http://www.community-relations.org.uk/about-the-council/background-info/community-relations-week/

  • John East Belfast

    Seymour Major

    What sectarian stuff ?

    It seemed a pretty reasoned debate to me on clashes of identity and culture and it association with different loyalties in a divided state.

    There is no point in burying your head in the sand.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Seymour Major,

    A less generous contributor than myself might suggest that closing this thread down might be in the interests of face saving for the UU/Tory party/alliance thingey. So with a view to refuting such suggestions…. before this thread closes the issue of which UU/Tory concillors were involved and what exactly their involvement was as the BBC site is still claiming Watson was in contact with Tescos in apparent contradciton of his own statement – which is now being sent out by the Tory Party in his defence.

    What the other quarefellah said, of course, still needs clarification, nothing from the Tories on that.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/8024732.stm

    It would be most unfortunate if we find that in the middle of “community relations week in Northern Ireland” the party claiming a new beginning etc etc has not deemed it necessary to put its own house in order particularly after lecturing us natives.

  • Smug O’ Toole

    JEB,

    Your son better avoid Milan so. There’s some Italian walking around, proclaiming that he’s wearing the jersey of the greatest football team in Ireland, as he proudly wears the blue and white of Cavan. You meet the most interesting of people at Oktoberfest. An uileann pipe playing Italian who plays for Inter Milan youth team and who has never even been to Ireland was quite a strange experience. He made a promise to me that he’d dedicate a goal to me if he ever made it to the full team. Somehow, I doubt if he ever made it considering the amount of booze he was putting away.

    Just warn your son. You seem like a really nice chap and I’d hate for any of your family holiday’s ruined by such bullying antics.

  • Fert

    @Tir Eoghain Gael

    There are no GAA clubs named after provos, The only club I can think of named after a Republican from the recent troubles was Kevin Lynch who was an INLA man.

    Oh right then. So it would be fine for the orange order not to have bands flying UVF or UDA flags as long as they only have LVF ones. The “any prod will do” INLA being so much less sectarian than the PIRA.

    rollseyes

  • willowfield

    ORIGINAL SAM

    Don’t get me wrong, I can understand why Unionists have issues with the GAA, christ, I imagine the GAA is the antithesis of everything Unionists believe in – it’s 32 county, it promotes an Irish culture and heritage the Unionist people want to deny because if they embraced it it might dilute their Britishness.

    Unionists have few issues with other 32-county organisations.

    And the GAA does promotes only a certain kind of “Irish culture and heritage”, and envelops it in political baggage.

  • Fert

    Also this “no club named after Provos” is the height of pointless pernicketiness. I don’t know if it technically happens to be true but there are multiple GROUNDS and TOURNAMENTS named after Provos. From a google (no I’m no expert on the subject).

    Mairead Farrell Camogie tournament
    Louis Leonard Memorial Park
    Martin Hurson Cup
    Michael McVerry Cup
    Gerard and Martin Harte Memorial Cup
    Lochrie/Campbell Park

    Cue nationalists telling me that all the above are being honoured for their contributions to sporting excellence and the fact that they were provo terrorists is purely coincidental….

    Go on be predictable.

  • Yankee Irish

    How can I buy one of these Club’s shirts? I would like to also send a donation as well. To whom would I send it?

  • anne warren

    Seymour Major: “anti-sectarianism often has the effect of re-inforcing sectarianism”
    So if we talk about sectarianism and bigotry, which exist and have long existed in NI, it’ll make them worse.
    If we don’t talk about them, what’ll happen?
    They won’t exist?
    They’ll fade away into the sunset as hasn’t happened over the centuries?
    They’ll continue, fomenting resentment in victims and condoning perpetrators?

    John East Belfast: “There is no point in burying your head in the sand”

    Fully agree with John on this point. Would suggest that dragging one’s head out of the sand requires the intellectual strength and honesty to look at the unvarnished truth and question the validity of out-dated slogans and beliefs.

  • The Original Sam Maguire

    Unionists have few issues with other 32-county organisations.

    And the GAA does promotes only a certain kind of “Irish culture and heritage”, and envelops it in political baggage.

    Which ones are ok, pray tell?

    Political baggage? Jesus wept. Almost everything in the North of Ireland has some sort of political baggage. I was making the point that I can see why being a Unionist can make it ideologically incompatible with being a member of the GAA. What was your point?

  • willowfield

    Which ones are ok, pray tell?

    The IRFU, the Irish Cricket Union, the Irish Hockey Union, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, the Church of Ireland, the Presbyterian Church of Ireland, the Methodist Church in Ireland, the Golfing Union of Ireland …

    Political baggage? Jesus wept. Almost everything in the North of Ireland has some sort of political baggage. I was making the point that I can see why being a Unionist can make it ideologically incompatible with being a member of the GAA. What was your point?

    The point is your misrepresentation of the reason why unionists feel excluded by the GAA.

  • George

    Willowfield,

    The IRFU,

    You’ve changed your tune, at one time your were saying the following:

    The rest of international rugby is based on teams within understood international (and, in the case of the UK, national) borders, except Ireland. A NI team would conform with that, since it would be on a par with England, Scotland and Wales. The ROI team would then be on a par with all non-UK teams. The anomaly would end.

    Make your mind up man.

  • willowfield

    There’s nothing inconsistent with observing said anomaly and also that unionists have few issues with the IRFU.

  • picador

    Willowfield,

    I see you have your rant going here as well.

    Interesting list of organisations you approve of.

    Bears out what I said on the other thread about your hatred of the ‘indigenous’.

    You set out to prove the racism of ‘nationalists’ and inadvertently demonstrated your own.

    Must try harder!

  • George

    There’s nothing inconsistent with observing said anomaly and also that unionists have few issues with the IRFU.

    You have few issues with the IRFU but want it disbanded and two rugby teams created because of among other things, and I quote you, “the outrageous IRFU flags & anthems policy”.

    Either you are being totally inconsistent or are you saying that while you have a serious issue with the IRFU and its flags and anthems policy, as well as the idea of a 32 county rugby team, most unionists don’t.

    Well, which is it?

  • George

    There’s nothing inconsistent with observing said anomaly and also that unionists have few issues with the IRFU.

    You have few issues with the IRFU but want it disbanded and two rugby teams created because of among other things, and I quote you, “the outrageous IRFU flags & anthems policy”.

    Either you are being totally inconsistent or are you saying that while you have a serious issue with the IRFU and its flags and anthems policy, as well as the idea of a 32 county rugby team, most unionists don’t.

    Well, which is it?

  • willowfield

    You have few issues with the IRFU but want it disbanded and two rugby teams created because of among other things, and I quote you, “the outrageous IRFU flags & anthems policy”.

    First, my own personal views are not those of unionists generally. They are my own.

    Second, I may prefer NI to have its own rugby team, but I know that will never happen, and give my support to the Ireland team instead. Like most unionists.

    Third, I object to the outrageous flags and anthem policy, as should all right-thinking people across the island.

    Either you are being totally inconsistent or are you saying that while you have a serious issue with the IRFU and its flags and anthems policy, as well as the idea of a 32 county rugby team, most unionists don’t.

    I don’t have a “serious issue with the idea of a 32-county rugby team” and nor do most unionists.

  • Frank

    ‘I don’t have a “serious issue with the idea of a 32-county rugby team”’

    Careful now willowfield, next thing you know you will be joining Northern playing greats like Martin O’Neill, George Best and Pat Jennings & others like Lennon, Dougan and Hamilton in voicing your support for an Ireland soccer team 🙂

  • PACE Parent

    While the majority of posts on the Antrim Tesco controversy focus on the relative positions of supporters and opponents of the GAA little attention has been paid to the role of the £6 billion profit making Tesco company. Why is it necessary for “charities” to be offered the opportunity to pack bags? Is the motivation from Tesco down to free child labour or do they make a donation also? Why do the company not simply move all such organisations to the outside of the premises – is that to prevent customers knowing before they enter the store that a moral blackmail operation involving children is in operation and customers may shop elsewhere?
    As a reluctant Tesco customer I have enough problems with their ability to provide the service I pay them for (mainly home delivery). One of the reasons for my reducing in-store shopping was the increasing frequency with which customers are bombarded by charity baggers. Tesco have a major role to play in this controversy not least because of the loose rules surrounding charity laws in Northern Ireland.
    Perhaps a few comments from the pro and anti-GAA posters may stimulate some debate on Tesco’s use of free labour to enhance their checkout performance.

    BTW I didn’t know that I was supposed to move to a different checkout if I didn’t support the charity baggers. That implies an expectation to pay which can reasonably be considered a charge for shopping at Tesco.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Anne,

    I had not noticed that remark by SeeMore – or rather SeeNO sectarianism.

    What is really worrying is that he is a moderate and a reasonable chap and cannot see or perhaps for party political reasons decides to ignore some horrible realities. I suspect the Tories having not thought out their involvement in this alliance with the UU will try to do the same.

  • The original Sam Maguire

    The IRFU, the Irish Cricket Union, the Irish Hockey Union, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, the Church of Ireland, the Presbyterian Church of Ireland, the Methodist Church in Ireland, the Golfing Union of Ireland …

    As picador says, interesting list considering that within the 6 counties there would be a negligible Nationalist demographic active in 6 of those 8 organisations.

    The point is your misrepresentation of the reason why unionists feel excluded by the GAA.

    I enjoy you. What I said was “I imagine the GAA is the antithesis of everything Unionists believe in” and subsequently offered 2 reasons as to why I feel they may be uncomfortable. From my reading of what you said, the 32 county aspect and Cultural aspect are ok then, it’s just the Nationalist stuff that bothers Unionists. Got it.

  • Neil

    Tesco’s banned collector’s from wearing sports tops, another example of our mutual intolerance of one another which will, in my opinion, result in the removal of anything deemed in anyway representative of one or other community’s culture. Neutrality, that’s our goal. Not greatness or character; banality and neutrality that’s what’ll put us on the map. It’s a joke.

  • Smug O’ Toole

    It’s a great little distraction though. NI citizens sure know how to handle themselves in moments of great global crisis.

    Here we are, looking into the jaws of a double wammy global catastrophe. If the recession doesn’t get ya, the pig flu just might. But these matters pale in comparison to GAA tops being worn by kiddies doing charity work in Tescos.

    As western civilisation begins to crumble under the onslaught of the rise of powers in Asia and South America, global warming, epidemics, financial crisis’, corrupt & incompetent governments, global terrorism, over-reliance on limited natural resources, X factor, Britains ‘allegedly’ got talent, Utd possibly winning the league and champs league (Why God Why!! Haven’t I been a good boy?), NI is completely unphased. There’s bigger more important fish to fry.

    And when some future archaeologist discovers the remains of a distant lost civilisation, digging about in the dirt, there’s one thing he won’t find in this mysterious temple to the lost God ‘Tesco’, and that’s the remnants of a plastic bucket, besides a tattered piece of clothing with the funny unknown inscription of ‘GAA’ on it.

  • willowfield

    ORIGINAL SAM

    What I said was “I imagine the GAA is the antithesis of everything Unionists believe in” and subsequently offered 2 reasons as to why I feel they may be uncomfortable. From my reading of what you said, the 32 county aspect and Cultural aspect are ok then, it’s just the Nationalist stuff that bothers Unionists. Got it.

    Well done. Wasn’t really too difficult, was it? You were trying to ascribe motivations for disliking the GAA that weren’t there: the reason, understandably, is the ethno-political exclusivity and nothing more.

  • danielmoran

    conal msg 18… for thew very good reason that it goes back over a thousand years and is therefore part of the island’s very heritage and history. Isn’t that enough?

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Daniel,

    I’m afraid it isn’t. Not when it’s used as a political tool to create division. “Ourselves alone” says it all really.

  • Every Little Yelpppsssss….Is Tesco’s action on the wearing of GAA regalia deemed contentious in our normalised NI society! It has emerged that a group of GAA juveniles from St Comghall’s GAA club were refused admittance to their local Tesco store on the grounds of wearing “alleged” inappropriate clothing!

    Tesco has admitted to asking a group of local GAA charity bag-packers at its store in Antrim to remove GAA jerseys following alleged complaints from the public. Children as young as nine were participating in collecting money for their local club on Sunday, when they were asked to go home and change out of their beloved club jerseys.

    Tesco’s claim the decision was taken following allegedly “vociferous” complaints from the public, including complaints allegedly passed on by the local Ulster Unionist councillor, Adrian Watson, on the bequest of some of his constituents. (A point I will elaborate on later!!). Since the event local media including T.V. stations, BBC, regional newspaper’s, Belfast Telegraph. and regional Radio Station BBC Radio . Numerous websites have also picked up on the story including most notably politics.ie , An Fear Rua, gaaboard.com

    plz check out the rest of this article on therebeslyell.com and rate/vote for it if you think it is worth it!!

  • Ulsters my homeland

    If Irish Nationalists and Republicans don’t want to accomodate gaelic sports for Unionists, let them keep their rebel games.

    We should start a shinty organisation between N.Ireland and Scotland, open to everyone.

  • Tír Eoghain abú

    UMH

    The vast majority of GAA fans would welcome unionists into our organisation should they wish to join. But we wouldn’t accept you, what with those chip shops on your shoulder and all. You seem like a miserable twat, while persecution complex of yours is quite astonishing. What a sad little man you are

  • picador

    Willowfield,

    While accepting that a few of your criticisms of the GAA might bear some validity the fact that you make them in a context of school-age children being intimidated by paramilitary spokesman speaks volumes about your own bigotry.

    Take the splint out of your own eye before you attempt to remove one from your brother’s.

  • Frank

    ‘We should start a shinty organisation between N.Ireland and Scotland, open to everyone.’

    Ireland and Scotland already compete annually in compromise shinty/Hurling matches in most age groups.

    Belfast Cuchulainns – A cross community school hurling team have also played our celtic neighbours in the compromise games event.

    http://www.newsletter.co.uk/sport-in-the-community/CROSS-COMMUNITY-Belfast-Cuchulainns-storm.4327786.jp

  • Gael gan Náire

    I have been surprised that Shinty hasn’t made an appearance under the Ulster-Scots banner.

    Some very distinctly Gaelic and Highlands have attracted the Ulster-Scots movement, why not shinty?

    The governing body’s name Camanachd Association / Comann na Camanachd might offend some, but I am sure only a very small number.

    The Ireland v Scotland matches have been on the go for manys a year now and are very successful by all accounts thought the laminated Scottish camán makes match wood out of the Irish ash.

  • TCR

    http://www.newsletter.co.uk/sport-in-the-community/CROSS-COMMUNITY-Belfast-Cuchulainns-storm.4327786.jp

    willow wanker will have a fucking heart attack when he looks at that

  • jonny

    “the Church of Ireland, the Presbyterian Church of Ireland, the Methodist Church in Ireland”

    surely, by definition, these are exclusive organisations!

    gael gan naire

    i think the point of the cultural pastiche that is the ulster scots movement is to accentuate difference from Irishness. Shinty is an uncomfortable reminder of the Gaelic origin of much of Scottish culture. Ulster Scots is madness. I wonder if the newly invented Ulster Scots community realize that when they celebrate Burns Night that they are celebrating a Jacobite and anti-unionist. In later life he may even have become a republican (not uncommon for protestants at the time, e.g., United Irishmen)

  • Rory Carr

    “The governing body’s name Camanachd Association / Comann na Camanachd might offend some, but I am sure only a very small number.”

    It is amusing to think that anyone could br offended at an organisation’s name merely because it is in the native language of the country where it exists. I can’t imagine that patrons of the Tate Gallery are offended at the very mention of the Muséé des Beaux Artes although I suppose the Pub Landlord might get some mileage out of it.

    Anyway I can’t wait to hear of Ulters my Homeland’s first visit to a sporting venue to support inter-community GAA club, Belfast Cúchullains as they take on a team from Scotland at shinty. An event surely tailor-made for him.