Gaelic Athletic Association 1884 – 2009: 1 In Ulster…

A few years back I remember talking to a senior DUP politician about the fact that the two populations (despite a considerable amount of Peace Processing that’s what they substantially remain) in Northern Ireland each seem to have quite separate public lives that essentially remain locked to one another… it was that thought which prompted me to suggest to the Newsletter’s Sam McBride the small scale inert character of the Twelfth at the hub of many rural Protestant populations may have be obvious to those with family in the Orange Order, but little of it comes across to those of us on the outside… To a large extent, the GAA is an equivalent ‘private public life’ for Northern Irish Catholic society… Reviewing: The Gaelic Athletic Association, 1884-2009
My own first memories of the GAA was in trailing after my father to an string of county matches including the last time Antrim played at an Ulster final (at Casement Park when they were also soundly beaten by Cavan), and some club matches at grounds where sometimes it was far from obvious where the pitch began and ended. Sometimes in places (when the foreign games ban was still in places) where the soccer posts had to have extensions attached)… In my soccer/cricket/rugby mad father’s case it was the sport that mattered.

In fact the GAA is a simple but efficient bureaucratic organisation whose early history was often a lot more complex in its relationship to those foreign codes it once outlawed than is obvious at firs glance, as an excellent series of essays The Gaelic Athletic Association, 1884-2009 from the Irish Academic Press outlines in some considerable detail…

I have to confess that when I first got the book I ripped straight to Chapter Six, The GAA in Ulster… before calmly going back to the beginning and reading patiently the whole way through… But, according toe David Hassan, Senior Lecturer at University of Ulster, it seems that there was a deal of support from Unionist circles right at the very beginning, which he argues was pretty much killed off when the Irish Republican Brotherhood effectively took control of the 1887 annual Congress after the tempestuous Michael Cusack was dismissed from his post as secretary.

There were no Ulster delegates (much of the early development seems to have taken place in Monaghan, Cavan and Fermanagh), but the Association received 150 letters protesting the take over from clubs across Ulster… The turbulence only drew to close with the formation of the Ulster Council of the GAA in March 1903… In fact right through the book you get a sense of several sets of creative tensions inside the organisation that in combination create the compelling force it has become in Irish society, both north and south.

In Northern Ireland, particularly after partitition. Hassan:

…the GAA in the north came to fulfil a range of fucntion for the people on the ground. Firstly, GAA Clubs existed as a repository of meaning for those interested in Gaelic games and keen to promote a sense of Irish nationalism. In a state where the very idea of expressing an Irish identity was problematic for some, the GAA provided a relatively safe haven around which like minded nationalists could cohere.

Secondly it is clear that the GAA was first and foremost an important, possibly the most important, cultural outlet for the nationalist community of Northern Ireland. Whilst it was undoubtedly politicall when it needed to be, for the most part it was – and still is – an organisation that affords considerable pleasure, pride and identity with all things Irish for its patrons.

Ultimately the GAA in Northern Ireland fulfilled an important counter hegemonic function for northern nationalists in the absense of any alternative outlet for them to protest their long-standing subjugation.

However he goes on to note the irony in how UK taxpayer’s money have gone into bolstering and improving the fortunes of Ulster Football in particular, both at club and county level through aid from Sport Northern Ireland. Support which Hassan notes “has allowed GAA grounds in Northern Ireland to develop at such a rate that they have become the envy of others throughout the rest of the island.” Anyone who knew the Holywood club in the 60s and 70s (then known as the Thomas Russells, now St Pauls) will remember the ‘plate-contoured’ pitch regularly brought under control by the good offices of the local Cricket club (not to mention arithmetically challenged referees), will understand the huge contrast with a modern pitch and facilities, and undreamed of successes on the pitch…

Hassan goes on to recount attacks on GAA clubs, the occupation of the Crossmaglen Club by the British army, and murder of prominent members of the Association throughout the Troubles… In some respects though after a few references in the first part of the Ulster chapter, there is little sense of how the GAA is perceived beyond its core community… There is no mention of the Darren Graham incident, or to the fact that amongst the few Protestant players there are in Northern Ireland tend to filter out long before reaching senior levels in the game…

This is probably the only disappointing aspect of the chapter’s treatment of Ulster, particularly given the powerful analysis by Gearoid O Tuathaigh in the book’s closing chapter, The GAA as a force in Irish Society: An Overview on the challenges facing both the organisation and wider Irish society in the future…

More of that tomorrow….

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  • Drumlins Rock

    Mick, I think the posting of the past few weeks are showing the two strong cultural communities that exist here, the Orange parading tradition, and the GAA sports tradition…
    OK I’m waiting for it, how dare i draw a parallel between them, one is purely a sporting organisation the other a…
    I was genuinely sickened and hurt but alot of the abuse thrown at the 12th celebrations, i tried to put the case on the threads and give some sort of balance, but the vile hatred that came from so many of the Nationalist posters was disgusting, if the same was said about any other group they would face prosecution.
    Ok. I finally get to the GAA. before you say i’m off topic, I have refrained from posting on the various GAA threads till now, I’m not gonna post so of the abusive tripe others have, but nor do I feel ready yet to say “good on ya’s, well done lads” there is still too much baggage, possibly if my tradition had of been given a bit more respect on here I mite have, but who knows.
    Living in Tyrone the Protestant community has very mixed feelings about GAA, but even the most moderate of those felt it went quite OTT over the last few years (much less so this year so far though I must add) and it IS intimidating going up town or into the Gym and standing out by not wearing a GAA top.
    I have talked to senior GAA members and heard how they fought to prevent the IRA taking over in the 70s, and realise the great work it does with young people, but I also see the Catholic, Nationalist, and sometimes Republican symbolism that says its not for me (plus im not into sports either) and see players and officals who “have a history” in the local papers.
    So I will wish Tyrone well, in consideration of those Catholic friends and neighbours who wished us well over the 12th, and hope that maybe the two cultures and traditions can live together and both thrive side by side, this country would be alot poorer without either.

  • In some respects though after a few references in the first part of the Ulster chapter, there is little sense of how the GAA is perceived beyond its core community…

    To someone who is very much an outsider, it seems they don’t feel the need to “outreach” beyond their “core” community- they have the players, the supporters, the finance; why risk then rocking the boat by pushing that core out of its cultural and political comfort-zones?

  • Granter

    The GAA is about much more than sport. It remains the only ‘sporting’ organisation that promotes an exclusive cultural/political position, Irish Nationalism.

    You can be a nationalist and play cricket and be fully accepted, you can be a nationalist and play rugby and be fully accepted and you can be a nationalist and play football (soccer) and be fully accepted.

    Being unionist and playing GAA means you will be ‘other’. You either ignore the one-dimensional view of what it means to be ‘Irish’, as defined by the GAA, and get on with it or you opt out.

    The makeup of the GAA today shows what option the ‘others’ have taken. In 2009 that is sad and shows that it is now the time to separate the sport from the cultural trappings

  • Let’s balance Slugger with articles about space an

    [i]ou either ignore the one-dimensional view of what it means to be ‘Irish’, as defined by the GAA..[/i]

    What is that definition, exactly?

  • GGN

    I think if you take the cultural aspects of the GAA you would be left with Irish Rules Football.

    I know some people dearly desire that, but they have to ask themselves the question, how long would that organisation last in competition with Soccer and Rugby? 20-40 years I’d say.

    The cultural aspects of the GAA need to be strengthened, not weakened. Hurling, more an art form than a sport needs to be strengthened, Rounders and Hanball need to be strengthened.

    Irish Rules Football? Not for me thanks. Take the Gaelic out of the Gaelic Athletic Association and thats all you would have.

    To do it to pander to those who object to everything Gaelic just isnt very smart.

  • Drumlins Rock

    I actually agree with you GGN, but it means the GAA should not be treated as purely a sports body as many claim, a bland centre ground is meaningless, but sensativities need to observed, it would be good if both side got some knowledge of the other traditions, there is an amazing amount of common ground, but also continue to keep their identity.

  • Chris Donnelly

    Hassan’s observations would be pretty much on the money. Faced with a state which sought to subjugate the nationalist/ republican tradition and reflected the identity of the governing unionist tradition, the GAA filled an obvious role in a cultural and political sense, though it remained (and even more so today) primarily a sporting entity.

    It is interesting to hear differing perceptions of the GAA, though some would appear to express objections which can never be satisfied. For instance, Drumlin’s Rock would appear to be objecting to people wearing GAA attire in village/ town centres (I recall reading similar objections in a report on why some unionists found Derry City centre unwelcoming.)

    The GAA, like Northern Ireland’s international soccer team, and most- if not all- of the Scottish and Irish soccer teams which command local support, is identified with one tradition or the other here.

    Questions regarding the GAA’s ‘comfort zone’ often focus on the history of naming GAA clubs and facilities after individuals associated with the nationalist and republican tradition.

    Accepting Hassan’s premise, this is merely a logical outworking of the fact that nationalists imitated unionists in seeking to honour prominent individuals from within their tradition by naming clubs/ stadia after them; whereas unionism (through the state) did this by naming roads, bridges, buildings, even villages and towns for their ‘heroes’, nationalists used the solitary organisation of stature within their ‘control’ to do likewise. Thus, the loyalists who gathered at the Ardoyne interface to greet their loyal brethren with a rendition of The Sash last week were standing on an Avenue named for a murdered Unionist politician.

    I have also heard objections to the fact that GAA county grounds fly the Irish National flag during games- a practise they share with a number of Irish League teams, not least Linfield and Glentoran (though the National flag flown differs on those occasions…)

    The GAA, as O’Neill concedes, is in a very strong and healthy position, not least in Ulster, which is in the second decade of a halcyon era which has seen no less than five of the nine counties lift the Sam Maguire trophy, with Tyrone and Down doing so five times between them. It has taken significant steps towards modernising through the removal of bans on players and stadia matters, and the fact that in Ulster the organisation virtually led the charge for a shared stadia (whilst the local soccer fraternity found excuses to walk away) is an indication of its forward movement.

    But it will remain a sporting organisation ‘plus’ quite simply due to its rich historical and political legacy.

    That will immediately turn many in this community away from the organisation: so be it. It is their choice, and, unlike the Loyal Orders, the GAA does not seek to impose itself on anyone not wanting to experience the games, and therefore can not fairly be compared with the Loyal Orders with regard to the impact of the organisation’s conduct on community relations.

  • GGN

    “the GAA should not be treated as purely a sports body as many claim”

    The Association does claim to be simply a sports body though some in it want that.

    My own parish have language class, music, set dance, the scór, sports, athletics and more.

    I would not swap that for Irish Rules Football. No way.

  • Mick Fealty

    Let’s balance, etc, etc…

    The first of the additional aims of the GAA:

    “(a) 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.”

    I don’t want to anticipate another post I’m planning for tomorrow, but suffice to say that over the last 100 years the association has made huge progress in making itself more representative amongst those parts of the population who were at first underwhelmed by its offering (there’s a chapter in the book devoted to that).

    Ulster Protestants are the largest and most obvious exception to that rule. The abolition of Rule 21 will no doubt help as well as its determination to build bridges with other codes. I’ve often encountered a ‘they don’t like us and we don’t need ’em’ attitude amongst some GAA supporters. But two things suggest to me that that’s not the way things will run in the future:

    – The history of adaptation in the face of some pretty big external challenges in the past. No code can afford to stand still, and the GAA have been both astute and effective in rising to multiple challenges in the past.

    – Ethnic exclusivism, the sin it has been historically accused of by its critics in the past has largely been shed, in the Republic at least. Cross community participation is just one strand of reaching beyond its current boundaries. The success of Northern Irish county teams (for many decades, an unfulfillable dream) too will help popularise the sport.

  • Doggybot

    One poster talks about taking the ‘gaelic’ out of GAA leaves little of interest and little that could compete successfully with other sports.

    Another suggests it’s all about the ‘games’.

    You can’t have it both ways.

    The GAA is different from other sporting codes because of its cultural baggage. If that baggage can’t be left behind and allow the ‘cold’ sports house to warm that’s fine, but just call it like it is and give up the nonsense that it’s all about the sport.

    For my money the games could succeed as sport without the nationalist trappings. I can’t believe that those thousands watching the Ulster Final were all humming ‘A Nation Once Again’ as they watched the spectacle on the pitch.

  • Heidi Concorran

    I’m getting a mixed message from the GAA lobby. It seems to be split between ‘Gaa’ and ‘gAA’.

    From an outsiders point of view the GAA looks like the ‘Gaa’; structured on catholic parish boundaries, officials named in Irish and flying the Irish flag not by choice but by rule.

    On an island where the people are split along nationalist/ unionist lines sport should be where they can come together and be treated as equals and not used to promote a partisan position.

  • Mick Fealty

    Chris interesting that the Ulster clubs opposed the political radicalisation of the organisation before partition.

    There are legitimate comparisions to be made between the Orange and GAA, but they almost all revolve around their specific social objects. The GAA is a sport, that behaves in some ways like a friendly society. The Orange is a friendly society that makes no claim to be a sport and cannot be judged in those terms.

    There is a line of thinking in Irish nationalism (in the context of NI that affects both main constitutionalist political parties) that making yourself more amenable to ‘de udder side’ is about ‘selling out’ on the central tenets of nationalism.

    That for me is the outworking of a kind of Persephone complex – that part of the abduction myth which states the rule of the Fates that whoever consumed food or drink in the Underworld was doomed to spend eternity there – than anything that concretely relating to reality.

    The GAA is a smart organisation with a weather eye always on prosperous survival. Complacency has not long been one of its casual vices.

  • Chris Donnelly

    “Ethnic exclusivism, the sin it has been historically accused of by its critics in the past has largely been shed, in the Republic at least.”

    Mick

    And for obvious reasons, given that the southern state has been independent for coming on ninety years and has been considerably more successful at assimilating its minority community than the majority unionists of the north.

    In fact, a more informative contrast would be the ability of the GAA to move past the ‘ethnic division’ in the south and the relative failure of the sports most associated with unionism in the north to do likewise.

    In spite of the fact that soccer remains the most popular sport on an international level and competes as such with gaelic football in Ireland, the soccer authorities in the north of Ireland have utterly failed throughout the decades since partition to endear the Association and ‘national’ team and league to the minority, catholic- nationalist community.

    On Saturday, I attended a wreath-laying ceremony at Belfast’s City Cemetery in which the renovated headstone of the former local soccer legend, Elisha Scott, was unveiled (if that’s the correct term.)

    Scott was, of course, renowned as a fantastic goalkeeper, becoming Liverpool’s most capped player (still remains so today) and a wonderful servant of Linfield.

    But he is most remembered as the manager of Belfast Celtic, whose unseemly demise from the league (never to be replaced and followed a generation later by Derry City) illustrates just how the sporting world here, well beyond the GAA, has been caught up in the political conflict.

  • Chris Donnelly

    There is a line of thinking in Irish nationalism (in the context of NI that affects both main constitutionalist political parties) that making yourself more amenable to ‘de udder side’ is about ‘selling out’ on the central tenets of nationalism.

    Mick
    How so? Relevant examples would be useful.

  • John East Belfast

    Chris

    “southern state has been independent for coming on ninety years and has been considerably more successful at assimilating its minority community than the majority unionists of the north”

    Is that a criticism of the north ?

    Ie are you saying you would be happy if in Northern Ireland about 70% of Catholics had become Protestant and the entire community now would be about 90% plus unionist ?

  • Mick Fealty

    I’ve been studiously avoiding such comparisons, not because of any fatal weakness in these arguments, but because I did not want to fall into the terminally evasive ‘whataboutery’ trap: “sure look at themuns, we’re not as bad as them…”

    There is sectarianism in soccer because both religions play it. I was going to slip in a line about how when you played Gaelic at school, you’d get your thumping on the pitch, whereas playing soccer, you ran the risk of getting thumped afterwards once the game was over. However, that’s soccer’s problem; not the GAA’s.

    The huge popularity of soccer one reason why the industrial working classes of Dublin were amongst the later converts to the GAA. That’s the dynamic I was referring to earlier, not the assimilation of southern Protestants (who were nowhere near as statistically important)…

  • Guest

    “ie are you saying you would be happy if in Northern Ireland about 70% of Catholics had become Protestant and the entire community now would be about 90% plus unionist ?”-Jeb.

    A very convienient use of Unionist=protestant.
    Simple question to portray the difference: Do you belive that all or even a majority of protestants who live in the Republic are unionists?

  • skullion

    JEB

    What would you have the Gaa do to make it acceptable to unionists?

  • Mick Fealty

    Chris,

    I’ll do my best to come back on that, or articulate an elegant retraction/retrenchment, if I can’t… 😉

    But I would say it’s generally couched in profoundly pessimistic terms, and usually incorporates some noteworthy forms of reality avoidance. Mitchel McLaughlin’s infamous ‘undermining of confidence in the Unionist community’ early morning ‘Confessio’ on Radio 4 would be an outlier of that attitude…

    But for now, good night all…

  • Chris Donnelly

    JEB

    The northern unionist perception of the plight of their co-religionists in the south owes a lot to the imagination, but I’ll avoid straying off-topic on that one for now.

    No, John, unionism’s difficulty remains that when it was presented with the gilt-edged opportunity to copper-fasten partition in the years following the division of the country, it went down another road, ignoring the wise warnings of lonely voices from within its own camp- like Hugh Montgomery.

    Mick
    True, much of soccer’s difficulties in the north lay with the cross-community working-class appeal of the sport, but that only confirms that the GAA should not be singled out from cricket, hockey and rugby as a sport which has historically been identified with one community in the north (it also does not account for the fact that a more enlightened approach by the northern soccer authorities throughout the decades would have borne fruit.)

  • Chris Donnelly

    Mick

    Resorting to a throwaway clip made by a politician on a live radio interview is very weak.

    For what it’s worth, I disagree with the sentiments implied by Mitchel in that interview, and they appear to me to be a poor choice of words.

    And yet how often have DUP politicians- and Trimble’s UUP before them- boasted about unionism winning and the need to defeat nationalism (indeed, I seem to recall the DUP’s European election leaflet urging voters not to give nationalists a ‘morale boost.’)

    Persephone complex all round then???

  • Mick Fealty

    Chris, the post was about an excellent book of essays on the GAA: not hockey, etc, etc… 🙂

    I’ll be writing more about other aspects of the GAA’s changing relations to other codes tomorrow…

  • Mick Fealty

    Chris, I was trying to get to bed… I shall endeavour to do better tomorrow…

  • John East Belfast

    skullion

    It depends what you mean.

    If you want us to treat it with just passive indifference to “wishing all the best” then any baggage with the IRA would have to be ditched – names of grounds, allowing Hunger strike rallies to be held in clubs, having senior GAA officials open new ground named after dead Provos.

    If you want us to partake in the sports it will never compete with soccer and rugby.

    The GAA was a master stroke (from a Nationalist point of view) in the 19th century as part of the overall efforts to differentiate the “Irish nation” and ensure no assimilation into the British State. The RC Church would have been involved and encouraged the same.

    That strategy was entirely successful but the downside – if it is seen as that – was it also was successful in alienating the Protestant pro British community.

    Therefore the alienation of the Protestant Community was simply a victim of the success of such a differentiation strategy.

    Hence there is no point agonising over why we are where we are – however we can peacefully co -exist and as a Down & Ulster man myself I would have no problem wishing any Down & Ulster sporting team success against AN Other.

    That position is the best the GAA can hope for from unionists but to get full buy in on that it needs to ditch any association with militant Irish Republicanism

  • John East Belfast

    Guest

    “Simple question to portray the difference: Do you belive that all or even a majority of protestants who live in the Republic are unionists?”

    Not any more but I would wager the majority where in 1921.

    Chris was tlaking about the south’s succesful assimilation strategy which is not how Northern Unionists see it.

    I dont think there is any pride to be taken in a religious community almost disappearing after 70 years of your State being formed.

  • skullion

    JEB

    Contrary to popular myth there are very few clubs named after what unionists would regard as terrorists but i would accept that these could antagonise your community.However to claim that protstants were alienated by a sporting body that by your own admission wouldn’t compete with soccer or rugby is a complete red herring.It seems that most unionists at best are begrudging and at worst insult at every opportunity available as aptly demonstrated by Nelson Macausland.The vast majority of Gaa members join to partake in sports not to get one over the prods or assert ones Irishness.

  • Chris Donnelly

    Mick
    Night night.

    JEB
    I can understand and appreciate your position, but I’d actually disagree with your conclusions.

    The protestant/ unionist community- like their catholic/ nationalist neighbours- is not a homogenous unit, and the GAA would do well to steer clear of the insatiable demands likely to be made of it by political unionism in the near future.

    Instead, a better course would be to continue down the course it has taken in recent years. Outreach through initiatives in local communities and schools, linking with other sports more traditionally associated with and played by protestants.

    I can tell you from personal experience that protestants do take an interest in GAA, from spectating to active participation, and the GAA needs to continue down the road of encouraging such participation.

    What many unionist politicians publicly seek- and what you’ve articulated above- is the destruction of the nationalist heritage of the games, which I’ve already outlined was an important aspect of providing the beleagured nationalists of the north with an outlet for their cultural/ political expressions-an outlet unionists had through the state: by the way, should we rename all those bridges, buildings, roads and towns?

    For what it’s worth, the GAA has already moved against what they see as the holding of political rallies in stadia (though perhaps you’d not like to be reminded of the Orange Order’s use of Windsor Park some years ago…) and I could personally forsee a natural end to the naming of new clubs after republican figures quite simply due to the changed political environment and nationalism’s involvement in the state, though existing clubs and grounds would, like those roads et al, be a part of the legacy of our ‘shared past’ surely???

  • Guest

    Jeb,

    Fair enough.If we take 1921 as a beginning or leastways as the moment we can begin to judge the republic.

    The vast majority of those protestants would have of course lived in the border counties and would have had family in the now north.I think it would be as dishonest to deny that there were atrocities committed against protestants then as it would be to cite all the protestants that remained and whose desendents are proud of their Irish republic to be proof of freedom granted in the south that Catholics were denied in the north.
    He who may cast the first stone,and all that….
    I will however cite the unionist peoples’ decision to deny their Irishness and proclaim themselves british in the face of a vast majoritarian desire for Irish independence as a declaration of disloyality to the new state.There were obviously consequences of that disloyality that go beyond religion.We can continue to ask who was Burke?And which tribe can claim him?

  • John East Belfast

    skullion

    I think you are missing the point.

    The GAA set out to set apart its section of the community and the natural result of that is the Protestants were alienated.

    It never ceases to amaze me on Slugger that not only are the Prods blamed for every misfortunue on Catholics but we are expected to take the blame for anytime we come out second to Catholics as well.

    If we disappeared as a cultural, political and religious entity in the ROI that is our fault.

    If we are alienated by the GAA despite that being the society’s effective objective then that is our fault as well

    I am all for taking responsibility for unionism’s failings on this island but ffs does Irish Catholicism/Nationalism/Republicanism ever feel any responsibility for the divisions and problems in this place ?

    I recently read an article where the author was blaming the demise of the Celtic Tiger on the “greed of the Anglo Saxon calling at the door of the Irish” – as if every misfortune of Ireland was something that has been visited upon by somebody else – usually the British.

    PROTESTANTS ARE ALIENATED BY THE GAA BECAUSE DIFFERENTIATION OF GAELIC AND CATHOLIC FROM EVERYONE ELSE WAS THE MOVEMENT’S OBJECTIVE – and it was bloody successful at it.

  • John East Belfast

    Chris

    “What many unionist politicians publicly seek- and what you’ve articulated above- is the destruction of the nationalist heritage of the games,”

    I never said that and I wouldnt be interested in such a policy – you cant put the genie back in the bottle.
    To be honest Protestants arent really interested in doing anything about the GAA – the only time I read about it is on Slugger where it features a lot.

    I was asked how the GAA could become more acceptable to unionists and I said if it ditched the baggage of militant Irish Republicanism.

    However that acceptance would range from passive indifference to “wish it all the best”.

    If you wanted any more than that then you would have to ditch all the Gaelic baggage – but even then you might have no success due to the draw of soccer and rugby. Indeed interesting point by the earlier poster that removing the Gaelic bit could reduce it to nothing more than Irish Rules Football and you could lose the Catholics as well.

    “by the way, should we rename all those bridges, buildings, roads and towns?”

    Well if any of them have been named after convicted criminals I would say there is a case – which ones do you have in mind ?

  • territorial pissings

    Pathetic in the last few days to see the GAA marking out the Malone Road with dozens of Antrim flags in a blatant act of territorial pissing in what is a neutral area.
    Monkey see, monkey do.

    Fuck off, as a resident we won’t want that shite here any more than we want loyalist flags.

  • WindsorRocker

    (though perhaps you’d not like to be reminded of the Orange Order’s use of Windsor Park some years ago…)

    Would be curious to know when this happened.
    I have read the history of Linfield by Malcolm Brodie and I have to say that any Orange Order rally seemed to slip from my memory.
    Brodie did mention Billy Graham and James McConnell but I don’t recall any mention of the OO?

  • Chris Donnelly

    WindsorRocker

    It was the Order’s two hundred anniversary celebrations- (mid to late 90s?) if memory servies me correctly. Been discussed and pointed out on Slugger oft times before when some seek to point to republicans’ use of GAA facilities….in fact, I can also ssemingly recall Inver Park being used by the Loyal Orders.

    JEB
    Please try to avoid relying on MOPEry. It is a weak line of defence and does little for furthering otherwise interesting discussions.

    The GAA did not seek to set itself apart ‘from’ anyone; it merely articulated through its structures and aims the sentiments of the vast majority of the people in the country when the entire island was occupied. Naturally those supporting the continuation of Britain’s occupation would have been against it, though interestingly it always included prominent people from the protestant community in its midst.

  • skullion

    Pissings

    I don’t think it was the GAA as an organisation who put up the flags on the Malone Road just a couple of over exuberant supporters.If they cause you so much angst then take them down which i imagine you could quite easily without any worry to yourself.

  • fin

    “convicted criminals” henceforth all churches named after Jesus Christ, a convicted criminal, shall be renamed judas iscariot, a lawabiding individual always happy to assist the authorities in the capture of wanted criminals.

    John, the unionist ploy of using the term ‘convicted’ doesn’t wash with nationalists, we are all aware that people who administer the ‘law’ no matter how brutal and how many deaths result from it are rarely seen in court – even today. We are also painfully aware that those who fight unjust rulers are generally quickly caught, ‘convicted’and dealt with.

    Do you honestly think that Peter Robinson is more offensive because he has a criminal conviction for waving a gun at Gardai than Oliver Cromwell who had an unblemished record.

  • “The GAA did not seek to set itself apart ‘from’ anyone;”

    Chris, this snippet from Mike Cronin illustrates the self-imposed apartheid thinking of its initiators [cf OO and AOH]:

    “Aside from establishing the GAA-IRB relationship that would have such an important impact on the Association across the three decades after 1884, the men gathered in Thurles selected three patrons for the GAA that firmly and openly linked it with the forces of political nationalism. Whereas the IRB’s relationship with the GAA was a secretive matter, the choice of the patrons was openly published in the newspapers of the time, as were the letters from the patrons accepting their posts.[9] The patrons chosen were Archbishop Croke, Michael Davitt and Charles Stewart Parnell. Such choices instantly gave the GAA nationalist credentials as all three were representative of the most important strands of the contemporary nationalist struggle: the campaigning Catholic cleric, the Land Leaguer and the leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party. ..

    By choosing the parish as its structure, the Association openly allied itself with the Catholic Church, the single most important and powerful body at the time. It also gave the people an instantly recognisable framework around which they could establish clubs.”

    Would it be fair to say that this ‘colonial mindset’ is currently stronger here than in the Republic?

  • Drumlins Rock

    Just to clarify, the Orange did use Windsor park in 1995, but the North Stand was not allowed to be used, ie. the IFA control it I think, so it was being used as the Linfield Grounds and not the national stadium so to speak. It was a family evening with “its a Knockout” and historic battle re-enactments (the real battle went on behind the scenes but thats another story) a selection of the top bands (some were world champions i think) and a display of banneretts, dont think there was any politics, if there was i didnt pay any attention to that bit. There was no paramilitary display, and I resent that it could be comapared to a hunger strike commeration, I dont have any real problem with “nationalist” events at GAA grounds, but not events glorifying IRA killers and criminals.

  • fin

    Drumlins Rock, and what exactly does the OO commerate, the battle of Aughrim and more recently the Boyne, are you under the impression that these two events were pillow fights, the result at Aughrim was circa 7000 dead, pretty much double the tally for the last 40 years.

    What are homecoming parades, or armed forces day if not to glorify killers.

    The only difference between the Teleban and the BA is driving the bomb to its destination and dropping it out of an aeroplane. Before you start, remember the BA and US troops changed their tactics in Afganistan after much criticism from the UN on the unacceptable level of civilan deaths

    You know Voltaire was joking when he said to kill a man is murder unless you do it to the sound of drums, a crime is a crime is a crime as someone once said

  • Chris,

    Apologies for this going off course somewhat, but I’m holding back on references to the GAA until a second post this pm…

    By chance I saw Danny Finklestein’s note on Facebook last night that he’d be on that programme’s political panel again. I flicked it on just in time. Danny’s pitch was that Labour is now making the same ‘return to core’ manoeuvre the Tories did post 1997. It’s become something of a core belief that in a democracy power is won by identifying waverers and courting them assiduously.

    Yet Obama’s victory in the States demonstrates that you have to bring the core with you AND bring waverers over. The trouble with Northern Irish nationalism is that although its political leadership have helped bring us to this post conflict phase, it seems not yet seem to understand that it cannot endlessly recycle that base to conjure up a working majority.

    Where it has acquired working majorities, it has already got most of the low hanging fruit. There are some others left to take, but further progress towards its stated goal of re-unifying the island as a Republic independent of the UK will require a substantial recalibration of its past ‘zero sum’ efforts.

    The trouble, it seems to me, is that the denial of the sectarian basis for its politics, and the projection of those inferior qualities almost entirely onto unionism is one of the biggest blocks to further progress.

    This is not, as it may seem to some, just another pointless dig at Sinn Fein; it cuts across both parties. During the 1979 Euros when several of my Protestant mates had confessed they were going to vote for John Hume, the gentleman himself was on the chapel steps telling those of us who would listen how it was important for Catholics to unite around one single candidate (himself) for Europe.

    Mitchel’s ‘slip’ is noteworthy because it gives a glimpse of a casual sectarianism that’s commonplace inside nationalism. Taking down unionism is what any self respecting nationalist should be about. Targeting the ‘unionist community’ is a tacit admission that that community is and always will be ‘other’ than nationalist. That sort of pessimism is more Jacobin than genuinely Republican.

    How do you marry the need to engage the base and proselytise non Catholic voters simultaneously? It’s easier to say how not to do it. Appointing someone as head of unionist outreach is not a bad start; but making that person someone with a bombing conviction who then proceeds to lecture unionists about their faults serves only the core, not the new hinterland.

    The other added problem for nationalism is a particular legacy of that history of cultural subjugation: the need to keep things secret and to preserve unity of purpose at almost all costs in the anti state struggle.

    Much of nationalism’s inferior sectarian qualities cannot be dealt with and got round unless they are first admitted. Each breach, like the campaign of burning and destroying Orange Halls is dealt with by moral evasion and Macavity-like assertions that ‘we weren’t there’.

    To be fair, no one, unionist or nationalist, has made a strategic pitch for middle Ulster. Cameron was the first to make a start, but it’s way too early to judge whether it has the capacity to deliver on its early rhetorical promise.

    In the Republic, the GAA has embraced a kind of civic nationalism which is in tune with the temperament of the country. It’s hard to see it succeeding similarly in NI unless there is some predispossion on the part of Northern Irish nationalism to move out of the separatist laager and in a similarly pluralist direction.

  • kensei

    Mick

    Mitchel’s ‘slip’ is noteworthy because it gives a glimpse of a casual sectarianism that’s commonplace inside nationalism. Taking down unionism is what any self respecting nationalist should be about. Targeting the ‘unionist community’ is a tacit admission that that community is and always will be ‘other’ than nationalist. That sort of pessimism is more Jacobin than genuinely Republican.

    Now who’s projecting? I don’t believe that. I doubt Chris does and lots of other people I know don’t. It happens, sure, and everytime I see a wee KAH painted somewhere I die a little inside but the suggestion you can extrapolate from an offhand comment by Mitchel ten years ago is just off, Mick.

    How do you marry the need to engage the base and proselytise non Catholic voters simultaneously? It’s easier to say how not to do it. Appointing someone as head of unionist outreach is not a bad start; but making that person someone with a bombing conviction who then proceeds to lecture unionists about their faults serves only the core, not the new hinterland.

    No, the whole idea is wrong headed. If you want to attract Unionists you set up Constituency offices in unionist areas, you go out and you campaign and you work for them. You take the momumental amount of shit you’ll get for doing it, and keep plugging away. You start thinking of the changes you need to make in order to be successful in those areas. And so on. It might take 25 years and a dozzen iterations to get any traction, but you plow on anyway.

    An “outreach” officer with no power over policy is not quite worthless, but in a excellent term I saw a performance review from once it is “minimally effective”. And if you judge your amazingly brilliant Tory Party on the same criteria, they come up just as weak, with all talk and no trousers. But hey! it’s more fun to laud Cameron and kick SF.

    You know the big thing that should really scare the shit out of anyone interested in changing anyone’s mind? The Civil War in the South was fought by people who fundamentally believed and wanted the same things, but the divisions and bitterness and electoral patterns linger even until today. How much worse will it be here? And how much more need to start earlier and get smarter?

  • George

    Kensei,
    The Civil War in the South was fought by people who fundamentally believed and wanted the same things, but the divisions and bitterness and electoral patterns linger even until today.

    Very true Kensei, and oddly enough it’s the GAA that is given much of the credit for helping heal the divisions in Kerry, a place where the war was fought most bitterly.

    You have to have a presence to make an impact.

  • Mick Fealty

    FYI, it was three years ago Ken, not ten: http://url.ie/23ds

  • John East Belfast

    fin

    If you cant tell the difference between Jesus Christ and Bobby Sands you have a problem – however i am sure you would have no shortage of Judas Iscariot candidates.

    Chris

    “The GAA did not seek to set itself apart ‘from’ anyone; it merely articulated through its structures and aims the sentiments of the vast majority of the people in the country when the entire island was occupied.”

    It tried to differentiate itself – there wasnt anything necessarily wring with that – however when you do it on the basis of Culture, Religion and Politics you can be dammned sure you will alienate others.
    In other words Protestants are alienated from the GAA because of the direct policy and actions of the GAA itself – not because of Protestant prejudice

  • George

    Kensei,
    The Civil War in the South was fought by people who fundamentally believed and wanted the same things, but the divisions and bitterness and electoral patterns linger even until today.

    Very true Kensei, and oddly enough it’s the GAA that is given much of the credit for helping heal the divisions in Kerry, a place where the war was fought most bitterly.

    You have to have a presence to make an impact.

  • George

    JEB,
    In other words Protestants are alienated from the GAA because of the direct policy and actions of the GAA itself – not because of Protestant prejudice.

    There you go with the free and easy interchange of Protestant and Unionist as if they are one and the same.

    Quite clearly the policy of the GAA on its foundation was to alienate itself from unionism and British rule, as shown by having as well as Archbishop Croke, socialist Davitt (a man despised by the Catholic Church and British state in equal measure) and Protestant Irish nationalist leader Parnell as patrons.

    The rallying point it provided against British cultural hegemony in Ireland is also a reason it was banned by the British government prior to the Irish War of Independence.

    In my view, the major alienation for unionists up until partition was much more political than religious.

    The development in Northern Ireland post-partition is another discussion.

  • kensei

    Mick

    FYI, it was three years ago Ken, not ten: http://url.ie/23ds

    Ah that makes a substantative difference.

    Wait, no, it doesn’t.

  • Mick Fealty

    Just a reality check Ken. Andy Coulson’s in front of Commons Media Select Committee saying he doesn’t recognise his own work. He’s just as unconvincing.

  • Mayoman

    Nevin and JEB, if you look at the three patrons of the GAA, this is what you have:

    A Catholic cleric
    A committed Irish socialist Home Ruler who was also involved in the rise of the British Labour Party (supporter of Keir Hardie).
    A Protestant landowner.

    The nature is nationalist, definitely not miltiant republican, and definitely not exclusive based on religion. The GAA was an organisation open to anyone who supported the right of Irish people to lead an Irish cultural life, regardless of religion.

    It is worth noting that the ‘caste’ system of Anglo-Irish 1st, Presbyterian 2nd, and Catholic 3rd was a British system introduced most obviously under the Penal Laws. People such as JEB use the convenient fault lines inherent in this system to chastise an organisation that has always been significantly patronised and influenced by Protestantism (i.e never segregated in the way the British caste system attempted). The GAA was always going to be mainly, but not exclusively ‘Catholic’ as the GAA’s catchment of disenfranchised Irish people were mainly, but not exclusively, Catholic, due to the operation of this caste system — a self-fulfilling prophecy, if you like. Today’s GAA battles with the outpourings and legacies of that past. But, while they are making strides to tackle that past, it was pre-partition elitist imperial Unionism that created these divides, not the GAA, not Protestantism, and not Catholicism.

  • Teelin Dun

    Those unionists to blame again. What’s it like living in a black and white world?

  • mayoman

    If we could keep it to Irish unionism vs Irish nationalism, and away from incorrect Protestant vs Catholic I’d be happy Teelin 😉 On the point, can you provide a ‘grey’ analysis of the Penal Laws?

  • John East Belfast

    George

    “There you go with the free and easy interchange of Protestant and Unionist as if they are one and the same”

    In Northern Ireland it is 90% plus the case. I know there are always exceptions but there is no point quoting exceptions as the basis of any case other than there will always be exceptions.
    John Gorman was a senior member of the UUP and although he represented potential he was quite clearly an exception and i am not going to go around saying the UUP was a place most Catholics could have felt comfortable in.

    “Quite clearly the policy of the GAA on its foundation was to alienate itself from unionism and British rule, as shown by having as well as Archbishop Croke, socialist Davitt (a man despised by the Catholic Church and British state in equal measure) and Protestant Irish nationalist leader Parnell as patrons.”

    I am not sure if you are agreeing with me there or attempting to be sarcastic – but none of those people are hardly unionist heroes.

    “In my view, the major alienation for unionists up until partition was much more political than religious”

    I said the GAA ethos was cultural, religious and political – thereofore an organisation that was Gaelic, Catholic and Pro Nationalist was always going to alientate people who were English/Scots Irish, Protestant and pro British.

    The point I am making is the alienation of Protestants (or unionists if you prefer)was by the design of GAA itself – not intentionally but it was the obvious outcome of such a policy to differentiate the “Irish people/nation” from the British one. It was very successful in doing so but the consequence was also the alienation of the Pro British Irish.

    I am simply point out that when the GAA scratches its head and wonders why it cant get the support of Protestants and instead often downright hostility I am simply encouraging it to look for answers closer to home – instead of accusing the Protestants of prejudice.

    Mayoman

    “The nature is nationalist, definitely not miltiant republican”

    Well you need to put your house in order then. In recent years we have had GAA grounds used for PIRA Hunger Strike rallies, grounds named after Irish terrorists (by definition both in ROI & NI) and such grounds opened by senior Dublin officials of the GAA.

    “it was pre-partition elitist imperial Unionism that created these divides, not the GAA, not Protestantism, and not Catholicism.”

    I think the problems of Protestantism and Catholicism pre-dated “pre imperial unionism”.

    Anyhow if you want to say that something pre GAA caused its formation in the first place then fine – however the fact is that the GAA caused the chasm with unionism by its own design thereafter.

  • Mayoman,

    The Penal Laws were repealed with Catholic Relief Act; the guts of 60 years before the historic meeting in Thurles.

    You should get the book, if you think it was inevitable that Protestants would be marginalised by the GAA’s winding course through modern Irish history.

  • kensei

    Mick

    Just a reality check Ken. Andy Coulson’s in front of Commons Media Select Committee saying he doesn’t recognise his own work. He’s just as unconvincing.

    *YAWN* A three year old quote from a senior but not terribly senior member of SF to support such a thesis is only marginal less thin than one using a ten year old quote.

    But hey Nick, tell me how Cameron is Web 3.0 again and is revolutionising poltiics here.

  • Mayoman

    Mick, do you think the effects of the penal laws, and the continuing anti-Catholic (when it suited them) mindset of the British rulers ended just 60 years after their repeal? A quote from Sean T O’Kelly, second President of Ireland, in 1920, some 40 odd years after the formation of the Thurles meeting.

    “The position of Irish Catholics is a cruel one. We are enslaved by a Protestant power. The penal laws against our religion are not yet abolished in full. The injurious social and economic results of these anti-Catholic laws will not be overcome for generations. To the present day we suffer political injury inside and outside of Ireland, simply and solely because we are practicing Catholics.”

    JEB: I have given you a clear reason why I believe that the GAA was not the cause of division, and indeed were inclusive with regard to religion. I also never said the Penal Laws caused the formation of the GAA — they were but an example of the mindset of a foreign power bent on fostering division. That division was bound to fester in the NI setting, with its inherent discriminatory baggage, and in the same self-prophesying manner, lead you to blame the outworkings of that on the GAA.

  • John East Belfast

    Mayoman

    I heard you the first time – if unionist/protestants have a problem with the GAA it is their own fault due to their inherent prejudice and discriminatory tendiencies fostered by an imperialist mindset.

    Irish Catholicism/Nationalism/Republicanism and of course the GAA are innocent parties in the whole matter.

    That is the kind of thinking that will take us nowhere

  • Chris Donnelly

    Mick

    A number of things spring immediately to mind.

    Firstly, attempting to sell Cameron’s UCUNF initiative as a pitch across the political divide is dubious. The UK-wide party he seeks to lead is more about maintaining the Union with Scotland, and his ‘pitch’ delivered in Belfast amounted to praising British soldiers and claiming Ulster is as British as Finchley.

    If that’s what you interpret as a pitch to ‘middle Ulster,’ then that particular political space is clearly restricted for protestants/ unionists as there was nothing of interest in his remarks beyond that constituency.

    In fact, it illustrates just why, for all their collective faults, northern nationalism remains a step ahead of unionism in terms of facing up to what it must do to attract support across the traditional religious/ political divide (though, given that the status quo favours unionism, that should be little more than cold comfort for nationalists.)

    For all the talk from the Cameron supporters and UCUNF-minded bloggers on Slugger and elsewhere, their collective political pitch amounts to pretty much telling catholics that it’s now ok to be equally as British as their protestant/ unionist neighbours.

    That’s the flip side of the age old Irish nationalist/ republican narrative that held up protestant republicans as proof positive that our cause wasn’t sectarian.

    Nationalists have moved well beyond that, and the articulation of policies seeking to respect the identities of both nationalist and unionist traditions on an equal footing should form the basis of a progressive narrative which needs to be sold by demonstrating how it works whilst simultaneously seeking to attract support- and therefore begin to engender trust- for policies on issues outside of the constitutional question.

    Secondly, appointing an Outreach Officer was, to my mind, a bit of a waste as it made a single target in the spokesperson. Much better to develop an ambitious policy and strategy to seek to represent predominantly unionist constituencies- incidentally, making the effort of appointing such a postholder was at least a step beyond the efforts of any unionist party to date.

    The fact that no UCUNF representative could even be bothered attending the funeral of a catholic beaten to death in a predominantly unionist town speaks volumes about the sincerity of its efforts to woo non-protestants to the unionist cause.

  • “The nature is nationalist, definitely not miltiant republican”

    Mayoman, surely the IRB was a militant republican organisation.

    Alongside those driven by a sporting agenda such as Cusack and Davin, men driven by a political agenda also gathered. Present in Thurles were three members of the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB). From the first meeting in 1884, right through to the foundation of the Irish Free State, the IRB would have a profound effect on the Association .. Cronin

    Unionist opposition was mainly from Ulster and the Ulster Unionist Convention of 1892 would have gathered some of its inspiration from the Ulster Convention a century earlier.

    Segregation was along constitutional lines but to a large degree this mirrored the Catholic/non-Catholic split.

  • barnshee

    “There you go with the free and easy interchange of Protestant and Unionist as if they are one and the same.”

    In ther north they certainly are and friend thats where it counts the political afiliation of the minor rump of non catholics in the ROI is of no import

  • dub

    The fact that no UCUNF representative could even be bothered attending the funeral of a catholic beaten to death in a predominantly unionist town speaks volumes about the sincerity of its efforts to woo non-protestants to the unionist cause.

    Hear hear. When i pointed this out to Seymour Major on his Tory Boy Story site he nearly died of shock, thus revealing an extraordinary level of blindness.articulation of policies seeking to respect the identities of both nationalist and unionist traditions on an equal footing

    Should we not be trying to win over ulster protestants to the cause of independence from Britain, Chris, rather than just saying that both identities have an equal value? After all no matter what happens in the north, barring repartition and/or joint sovereignty, one of the traditions is always going to be inferior because it is not the tradition of the state it finds itself in. Barring culture, Irish nationalism is about Irish people governing themselves. There is no earthly reason why Ulster Protestants cannot be won over to that, a good number of them believe it already in their own way.

  • barnshee

    “In fact, it illustrates just why, for all their collective faults, northern nationalism remains a step ahead of unionism in terms of facing up to what it must do to attract support across the traditional religious/ political divide”

    Hilarious – a murder campaign that alienated another 3 generations of prods from any idea of a UI and– people can spout the above with a straight face

  • Mayoman

    JEB: I actually sorta agree with you, if you could accede that unionist prejudice also plays a part in the excessively negative attitudes towards the GAA? I am open to accepting the the real truth lies somewhere between ‘my truth’ and ‘your truth’.

  • dub

    a very simple and effective way to reconcile and unite the gaa and oo whilst not making the mistake of denuding one’s own traditions to the point of meaningless blandness would be joint parades, cultural evenings etc and inviting orange lodges to set up their own gaa teams, replete with names redolent of their history etc. Edward Carson’s GFC, Ease Belfast. Ulster Scots could be encouraged in addition to Irish so that these teams might have English and ULster Scots on their crests, or even Irish and Ulster Scots and no English (we all know how much the scots hate the English!!!)

    I genuinely believe that this could work in the next 20 years or so and then we could see the glorious gaa summers of championship matches and the marching season in the north interract rather than stare mutely at eacthother.

    JEB is so Irish by the way that he supports England when the play the ROI. Strange kind of Irishman. No Irish unionist of any type in past would have been that toadying. Some people will always be beyond reach.

  • Mayoman

    Nevin, I was referring to the make up of the patrons, rather than on the future ‘pulls’ on the organisation, which were many and broad.

  • “the future ‘pulls’ on the organisation”

    Mayoman, the IRB link, though secretive, was there at the beginning – according to Cronin.

  • John East Belfast

    Mayoman

    “if you could accede that unionist prejudice also plays a part in the excessively negative attitudes towards the GAA?”

    There is no doubt that unionists have a negative stereotype against things they perceive as part of the nationalist culture – we are a divided country so that is inevitable. No different than nationalists having an understandable negative stereo type against the Orange Order.

    All we can hope for is we live in mutual respect of one another’s traditions – but that is not easy if we cherish things that become part of the way we wage our “conflicts”.

    Having said that something that would definitely help now would be if the GAA would decisively lance the boil which is its association with modern day PIRA.

    I asked you above

    “Well you need to put your house in order then. In recent years we have had GAA grounds used for PIRA Hunger Strike rallies, grounds named after Irish terrorists (by definition both in ROI & NI) and such grounds opened by senior Dublin officials of the GAA.”

    Setting aside the protestations of fin that “one man’s terrorist is another …… etc the bottom line is that PIRA was a criminal organisation in the ROI.
    On the assumption that you would expect the GAA to obey the laws of the ROI then how can you justify its association and apparent passive endorsement of PIRA ?

    ie when the GAA orders grounds to change their names or when it tells them to stop PIRA rallies but the northern club gives them the two fingers and tells them to mind their own businesss – then it needs to take decisive action against those clubs. Sanctions leading ultimately to expulsion.

    When the GAA has the courage to do that then you will make progress with northern unionism

    dub

    ” JEB is so Irish by the way that he supports England when the play the ROI. Strange kind of Irishman”

    LOL – I am sure nobody would want this to develop into a football thread.

    Firstly I am not part of the ROI but England is part of the UK – so it is totally natural – I really cant see why you have a problem with it.
    Surely even more unbelievable – would you agree – was northern irish men supporting England when NI were playing them ?

    Secondly any best wishes I, and most NI supporters ever had for the ROI team evaporated in the whole player eligibility saga. A worse case of pissing in your neighbour’s pond imaginable and you would have to be a saint to feel nothing but anger about the matter.

    Therefore in the hearts and mind battle for unionism whether it be the GAA or the ROI football team or even the attitude to the Union flag by IRFU you really dont make it easy for northern unionists to like your cultural expressions.
    But then that is our own fault of course.

  • Surely even more unbelievable – would you agree – was northern irish men supporting England when NI were playing them ?

    A certain well-known “journalist” and big fan of Keith Gillespie (cryptic one there) being a case in point.

    http://tinyurl.com/lacvfw

  • Mick Fealty

    You’re mumbling to yourself again Ken…

  • kensei

    Mick

    Which beats talking bollocks.

    Zing! Thanks for playing.

  • dub

    JEB,

    I agree that Irishmen supporting England against an Irish team is indeed even more disgusting than a self declared Irishman supporting England against an Irish team… er let’s read that again, they are both identical so my original point stands. Thanks for helping me clarify it. The IRFU have bent over backwards to accomodate northern unioniss by adding an extra anthem, flying provincial flag of ulster and encouraging supporters to wave green irfu flags rather than tricolours. Of course the IFA have done the same haven’t they? If both football teams are Irish then they should both be able to poach from the other, which was the situation up until the late 1950’s. That was recently resuggested but the IFA turned it down.

    What about my point about joint GAA/OO evening, parades and OO lodges sponsoring Gaelic teams??

  • Mick Fealty

    I can’t hear you! You’ll have to shout LOUDER!

  • CW

    Talking of which, I see the Tyrone manager has landed himself in a spot of bother:

    http://dreamingarm.wordpress.com

  • George

    JEB,
    In Northern Ireland it is 90% plus the case.

    We live in a different world.

    Having said that something that would definitely help now would be if the GAA would decisively lance the boil which is its association with modern day PIRA.

    Where I come from we laugh at its association with Sherry Fitzgerald and Vodafone.

    I am simply point out that when the GAA scratches its head and wonders why it cant get the support of Protestants and instead often downright hostility I am simply encouraging it to look for answers closer to home – instead of accusing the Protestants of prejudice.

    Once again, we live in a different world.

  • James

    ‘Secondly any best wishes I, and most NI supporters ever had for the ROI team evaporated in the whole player eligibility saga. A worse case of pissing in your neighbour’s pond imaginable and you would have to be a saint to feel nothing but anger about the matter.’

    Shock, Horror.

    Irish kids who grew up supporting their country want to emulate their heroes and represent Ireland on the International stage!

    For the vast majority of football supporters within the Nationalist community , Seeing Gibson etc wearing the Green shirt of Ireland is a source of great pride.

  • John East Belfast

    dub

    I” agree that Irishmen supporting England against an Irish team is indeed even more disgusting than a self declared Irishman supporting England against an Irish team… er let’s read that again, they are both identical so my original point stands. Thanks for helping me clarify it.”

    Sorry Dub you cant get away with that.

    I dont live in the 26 counties and I am not a citisen of it. Meanwhile the last time I looked at my passport said that England and I shared the same country.
    Meanwhile we have people born and raised in the six counties supporting the “hated” England when they play the six counties – I am sure we could include James above in that.

    Now who has the biggest problem ???

  • Ulster is my Homeland

    Protestants do not like organisations named after terrorists which is why Orange Order membership has gone down from 78 000 to 35 000. And people shun Craigavon for Belfast.

  • Lee

    John

    Most Ireland supporters i know in the 6 counties have little interest in England OR Northern Ireland, they don’t hate either team, but have never had any allegience to the Northern Ireland team, which is understandable considering the sectarian record of the support and the almost exclusively unionist flags, emblems, amthems & songs at Windsor Park.

    The problem as i see it, lies in the fact that Unionists have a problem accepting that a large proportion of football supporters in the North will always follow Trapattoni’s Ireland, which is natural considering players from all over the 32 counties play for and support the team.

  • Most Unionists i know in the “6 counties” have little interest in the GAA, they don’t hate it, but have never had any allegience to the GAA, which is understandable considering the sectarian record of the support and the almost exclusively nationalist flags, emblems, amthems (sic) & songs seen and heard at GAA grounds.

    Stalemate.

  • EyeOnTheNorth

    JEB

    You say NI supporters respect for ROI team evaporated during the player elligibility row.
    Are you having a fucking giraffe?
    How can anyone take the point of view that telling people they cant play for their preferred team is a bad thing?
    It would be different if ROI were forcing young, unionist NI players that for some reason they had to come and play for them due to some vague family history thing orwhatever.
    But people like you are stating that you want young nationalist Irishmen from the north to not be allowed to play for the ROI, and be forced to play for NI if they wish to partake in international football.
    Aren’t you confident enough that you can find talented young unionists willing to play for NI? Do you think ordering nationalists to play for a team where they will be surrounded by union flags and sectarian chanting is a good thing?
    Get a grip sir.If you hold a passport for a certain country, as many nationalists do for ROI, then you can play footie for them. If you don’t like that then tough shit mon. But don’t cite it as a reason to lose any goodwill and respect you once held for the ROI team.

  • EyeOnTheNorth

    CORRECTION…the first ‘bad thing’ in my statement above should be ‘good thing’. Too much peyote cactus last night!!

  • Democratic

    “Most Ireland supporters i know in the 6 counties have little interest in England OR Northern Ireland, they don’t hate either team…”

    Bollocks……were you smiling as you typed that one?