GAA: the Nation’s desire to live her own life, to govern her own affairs.

A question in the Assembly from Michelle McIlveen to Nelson McCausland suggested that Unionists are effectively barred from joining the GAA.

While I’m delighted another DUP member has taken the time to read the GAA Official Guide, something many members have never done, I’m surprised they seem surprised to find an Irish cultural and sporting organisation doesn’t have a Unionist ethos.

Both McIlveen and McCausland call for the GAA to change its rules. For those of us with experience of the GAA that may be a valid suggestion, many clubs and a large number of members demonstrate little concern with the Basic Aim of the organisation and seem mainly focused on being production factories for senior football and hurling teams or allowing younger people to participate in these two games. If so many members have little consideration for other sports, cultural, language or national aspirations maybe the GAA would be better off codifying itself as a sporting organisation alone and negating Unionism’s criticism?

Or maybe if they we going to get flack from the likes of McIlveen and McCausland over the Official Guide the organisation could be more proactive overall in actually implementing it?

Miss McIlveen: Although the benefits of sporting events can and should be of immense value to our tourism market, does the Minister share my grave concern that unionists are, by the constitution of the GAA and the rules therein, excluded and prohibited from membership of that sporting organisation? Will the Minister call for those unacceptable rules to be amended by that organisation as a matter of urgency to reflect the shared and better future that we should all be striving for in today’s Northern Ireland?

The Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure:
The Member raises a very important point. There is a general commitment and recognition in society now that a shared and better future is the best way forward in Northern Ireland. In the past, I have commended the professionalism and efficiency of the GAA in how it manages its organisation and activities. I recognise the importance that many in the community attach to the GAA and the value that they place on the sports that it runs. However, I agree with the Member that there is a difficulty, and I have raised it with the GAA and Sport NI in the past; it is not something that I raise today for the first time. As the Member made her point, I noticed that some Members on the other side of the Chamber seemed to be in a state of deep denial. However, rule 1.2 sets out the basic aim of the GAA very clearly:

“The Association is a National Organisation which has as its basic aim the strengthening of the National Identity in a 32 County Ireland through the preservation and promotion of Gaelic Games and pastimes.”

In other words, it places the games as a means to an end. That also needs to be taken in the context of rule 2.1 on membership, which states:

“Membership of the Association shall be granted only by a Club, to persons who subscribe to and undertake to further the aims and objects of the Gaelic Athletic Association, as stated in the Official Guide.”

That quote comes from the current rules, which I think were approved in July. In other words, it states that, to play the games, whether Gaelic football or hurling, and be a member of a club, people have to subscribe to the basic aim, among the other aims, that has the aspiration of a united Ireland. Therefore, people who are from a unionist tradition and do not subscribe to that particular political aspiration find themselves excluded from participation in those games. [Interruption.]
The GAA needs to address that issue if it is to contribute, as it could, to a shared and better future. It would be better if some Members faced up to that with a little bit of honesty and humility rather than engaging in the practice of denial. We must look at how we can address the issue and move forward for the benefit of not just the GAA but all society in Northern Ireland. It is possible to be a Protestant and play Gaelic games. However, according to the rules, it is not possible to be a unionist and play Gaelic games.

Aside: I know this topic will present an almost irresistible temptation for some but please don’t go down the ‘whatabout’ road. Deal with this and if you want a mirror topic on any other organisation/s feel free to write up a draft and email it.


[Moderator’s update: Comments are now closed. This thread has declined below Slugger’s standards.]

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  • Munsterview

    There is a saying in business circles originated by Mark McCormack of Mark McCormack, Sports Management…… ” When you have sold, shut up” !

    I am satisfied that I have ‘sold’ on this thread to the moderate, reasonable posters and readers that I needed to reach, so back to the message, anymore on the messenger is a waste of time and energy for me !

  • pippakin

    MV

    Nothing you say surprises me. You walked into this. If you want to be anonymous, be just that. Do not drop hints the size of boulders in an attempt to impress everyone with your inside knowledge and expertise, such antics never work for long.

    In the end people don’t care what you did or what you said. It is the content not the embroidery that counts.

    As for this thread. It made no difference that it was you and I don’t care if you were in Armagh or Timbuktu, your heavily embroidered example did actually high light an abuse of the system that some members of the armed forces and RUC committed. You are as entitled to your opinion as anyone, including me.

    Stop being silly. It was never likely that Turgon would take you up on your ‘bet’ and you knew it. It was yet another distraction.

  • Alan Maskey

    Turgon

    MV is not worth it. He has claimed to have been on the PSF Ard Comhairle during the 1970s and to be from the Killarney/Castleisland area of Kerry. He has also claimed to be a historian and many other things.
    Richard Behal was from that part of the woods and fit some of his characteristics though MV is not Behal. MV would be easy to identify if anyone with any insight into PSF thought he was worth bothering with. Anyone woujld include the PSF, RSF, FF and Special Branch old guard.
    His claims to be a historian are interesting. The Spanish Armada’s defeat by the pirate Drake did not mean the end of the Spanish; the Brits had smaller, more capable boats and so hammered them, something like Trafalgar. Now I am sure Malcolm Redfellow could weigh in and blow us all out of the water on this. MR would cite sources, oodles of them. That is what historians do.
    And it is not what MV does. He has been trolling me ever since I said that his idea of The DeValera Code – an Irish freedom fgihters’ mafia stretching back to Bonny Prince Charlie and beyond was a load of cobblers. Maybe it is not. But MV’s sources and reference points are, at best, the cheap conspiracy type ones. He was asked by JJ Molloy to produce references so that JJ could read up (more) on it and he could not. Par for the course.
    His Fr Chesney interventions were also revealing. He spoke of being debriefed by well informed West of the Bann sources: a student. Always moving from the thread and evidence for or against to his own narcissistic world.
    He probably does live in North Kerry (I would have taken him for Co Limerick). His Americanisms are, I would imagine, a symptom of his lack of education and, thus, his standing as a kosher historian (On this point, incidentally, ize is the correct expressuion; look up the OED).

    One could go on in this vein. But to what point? He likes to dominate threads with his endless drivel (to us) and profound “Elders of Tara” insights to himself.
    This thread should have been about the DUP sticking it up the GAA, an organisation/organization that lies dear to my heart and which Provos and other pymies/pigmies have tried to hijack over the years, the same way someone else has hijacked this thread.

  • pippakin

    Alan Maskey

    The DUP cannot do any real damage to the GAA, they withhold funding for a time but it will be delivered in the end. Not to cough up the cash would cause more trouble than the ‘brains’ in the DUP want.

    There is a debate to be had about changing the rule that would allow unionists to join in good conscience. I think that could happen perfectly reasonably with no harm done to the ethos or the pride of the GAA.

    As for MV you and he are also old adversaries but you left out MVs expertise on child abuse! The thing is surely there is room for everyone to comment .

  • Thank you Alan,
    Although Munster Mitty seems to have left us I was wondering. If he is so confident of his credentials why the need for silly proposed betting. If he really is as important as he says and wishes to prove it to me he could simply email Mick and permit him (Mick) to tell me the relevant information. I am sure Mick would do this. Indeed he has on my behalf done something similar for people who wanted to contact me.

    If it is only honour Munster Mitty is after (and let us be honest he seems to have little need of money in view of his businesses and yacht) then surely a bet is beneath him. Honour alone would mean that he would be happy to ensure that I was corrected in my view of him.

    I do like your idea, however, that Munster has simply picked up Americanisms. Incidentally I googled Richard Behal: a rather sad and pathetic man it would seem. If Munster Mitty is not him but pretending to be him that is almost touchingly pathetic.

    Anyhow I agree it would be preferable for this thread to return to what Mark had wanted. Still we had a bit of cross community fun laughing at Mitty.

  • Seymour Major

    I am a unionist who goes to at least two GAA matches every year (to watch Fermanagh in the Ulster and the Sam Maguire).

    I am personally de-sensitised to features such as bands playing rebel music, the Irish tricolour or the Irish National anthem. However, I think that a unionist coming to watch a match for the first time would find that to be a turnoff, never mind participating because of the GAA rules.

    I dont know of any other sporting organisation that has nationalism at the heart of its constitution. If there is one, I would be interested to know of it.

    I have criticised unionists and nationalists in equal measure for turning the Irish Language into a political football. Hurling is an ancient sport played in Ireland which long predates the founding of the GAA. It is part of pan-Irish heritage.

    The GAA needs to ask itself whether it wants its sport to be part of a pan-Ireland heritage or just belong to one community.

    Worth reading this piece from Ed Curran of the Bel Tel

    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/opinion/columnists/ed-curran/why-it-is-time-for-the-gaa-to-start-playing-on-a-wider-field-13994027.html

  • Alan Maskey

    Not a bad article but it is off target in a few areas.

    1. Internationalising is a marketing problem shared by both the Aussie Rules and GAA. I was at the first matces in 1968 and they were class acts. But lert’s get real. Both ther GAA and Ausises are fighting hard battles on their respective turfs to keep vthe big wolves away, both rugby codes in Ausise land and soccer in Ireland. i am always happy to see either Irish team lose.
    2. Which brings me to the next point. Roy Keane brought his Sunderland charges to watch Cork play and, I think, to take in the Munster final. Keane was trying to impress o nthem that the GAA men palyed for the jersey, not the cheque book.
    3. All schools would have a limited supply of class sporting acts. The writer mentions St Pats, which is now one of the aristocracy. They cannot excel at GAA and other sports aswell. This is a major problem for rugby schools who push their lmited number of aces to the limit. This resulted in a high profile murder/manslaughter in Dublin about 12 years ago, when Blackrock fellows got in a brawl with their opponents. many of these rugger buggers never want to play again once they leave school as the have been pushed too hard.
    4. One of the greatest and least sung GAA Presidents was Peter Quinn, brother of Mick and from Fermanagh. He it was who started the long march to professionalism run by amateurs.
    5. The GAA is about being unapologetically Irish but not in a drunken Paddy, pass the Armalite sense. One of the best biographies was Liam Hayes’, which revolves around his club. His brother actually hanged himself on the cross bar.
    6. More could be said but now back to the Toffees. (2-0 right now)

  • Munsterview

    turgon

    This concludes current exchanges with the Truly Useless Vestige !

    It also ends any any interest I may have had in fringe Unionism : the Right Wing of it has proven to be an insubstantial petty thing in mind and pocket ! The left is another matter and there is hope there yet.

    Farmer Tom may be held in disdain in these Truly Useless Vestige circles but at least the man would have made good when challenged………. and he would have a couple of bullocks or a field of sheep to back up a bet !

    I offered an honorable way out, it was not taken, it is now no longer on the table, now if you want to see my hand through Mick, you can put your chips on the table, my cards are there face down on the table and any time you get beyond bluff and bluster, pay the pot, and I will turn them face up for Mick and turn you over in the process……as I have done here.

    That for now concludes any business I may have had with the Truly Useless Vestige !

  • Turgon

    No Munster Mitty. I am sorry: I now accept your bone fides totally. I was wrong. Indeed you are actually the republican equivalent of the scarlet pimpernel and James Bond. Indeed you are a republican super hero. Please keep regaling us with your heroic stories of daring doo. We all love them and believe in you totally.

    Alternatively you really are a very sad fantasist. Still every now and again I will help other pull apart the fantasises so do keep going.

  • Munsterview

    Arising from the above exchanges a few things need to be clarified for the record ahead of my article blogging on slugger.

    First I am not wealthy, my means are quite modest, the boat referred to is at the lower end of the yacht scale, a four berth sailer and far from the more comfertable, Nicholson 33’s or Omega 34’s etc never mind the usual luxury yacht image that may be conjured up. The average drinker and smoker is probably spending more in their recreational activity than I spend on mine in a boating season.

    I did have a successful business but in previous conditions like now, between St. Stephen’s day and St Patrick’s day, thirty-five of a customer base of the forty-seven remaining, who had struggled on into the new year, ceased trading. Just like now cashflow dried up and business did not have the funds to continue on a day to day basis.

    Each and all were friends as well as business associates and I see first hand the turmoil wrought in their personal, family and social lives.

    I was one of these continually speaking out against the bubble economy and one of those that Bumbling Bertie recommended commit suicide for warning of what was about to happen. That is what made the Southern situation Golden Circle financial exploitation so vile, many in their late fifties, early sixties had been through it all before and lived through the devastation caused.

    I do not want the impression to stand that I am somehow sailing serenely above it all : I have the same financial squeeze as everyone else; but compounded by medically forced early retirement and limited activity confined to academic pursuits.

  • Turgon

    How awful Munster Mitty only has a little yacht. My heart bleeds for him.

  • Turgon

    Though realising that the financial crisis was coming and speaking out against the problems was very prescient. It is to be hoped that Munster Mitty took some care to ensure that the yacht was not bought on credit. Indeed maybe Munster Mitty has profited from the collapse and the yacht is the result of evil capitalism by Munster Mitty. I do hope not.

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    Haha! You’re not supposed to be using abusive language like that to other posters BP. Nut I’m choosing to assume you were overcome by self-righteous rage, so I’ll just shake my head and smile patronisingly at my computer screen.

    But in answer, the bit that bans British people in Ireland is:

    “The Association is a National Organisation which has as its basic aim the strengthening of the National Identity in a 32 County Ireland through the preservation and promotion of Gaelic Games and pastimes … Membership of the Association shall be granted only by a Club, to persons who subscribe to and undertake to further the aims and objects of the Gaelic Athletic Association, as stated in the Official Guide.”

    On the shirt thing, well, you’ll just have to take my word for it, though I did discuss it with several people so there would be evidence were this a real defamation action and not just a blog spat.

    I’m amused that you object to “throwing around adjectives” (or “writing in English” as it’s known) but better surely than throwing around the word “liar” with, embarrassingly, no evidence to back it up.

    And I’m no more convinced of the bona fides towards us Brits of the people supporting the GAA’s stance, So you shot yourself and the GAA in the foot there. Remember, you need people like me before you can have your united Irish nation, so be nice 🙂

  • Munsterview

    Pip,

    First of all I changed from reader to poster on this site after some years because of one particular issue concerning allegations of CSA in republican circles to show support and solidarity with the victim.

    At that stage I had not been directly involved in politics for a few years, indeed I had made it clear to all concerned that once the GFA was bedded in and the first Southern SF TD elected in, I was out. I had been heavily involved since the late sixties and I needed time for other things before it was too late.

    I had been recommending Slugger to English, Continental and North American friends for years and these readers encouraged me to ‘slug it out’ on certain historical issues, which I did.

    I always had a life apart from the Movement, several in fact. However there was a problem with credibility; in relation to authority for certain statements what I said I had to quote personal experience.

    Of course the Truly Useless Vestige types were going to attack and discredit be on all possible occasions : this is all about hearts and minds, they want continued political polarization, without it the Truly Useless Vestige would be even more marginalized than they are.

    The Truly Useless Vestige is mainly a political rest home for existing and ex-police officers, prison warders and other such people from the State machine who are now in situations of limited power or powerless. They are a very disgruntled ‘feeling hard done by’ lot who like the ‘hairy armpits’ of Good Old Smithies in Old Rhodesia, will take their attitudes to the grave !

    Add in a collection of sectarian right wing bigots to the mix and all who collectively long for the ‘good old days’ when they were the undisputed cocks crowing on the steaming political dung heap that the pre GFA North was, and you have got their constintuency!

    I was never going to be tolerated by these people, much less accepted. I just patiently fed their principle voices enough rope to hang themselves.

    Their bluff was called, I can produce the credentials to back up all my claims regarding my personal life experiences, political or otherwise, which incidently colorful as it may be, pales into insignificance before the lives of the average Northern republican activist of my age.

    Of course I knew the Truly Useless Vestige would not put up. they are not idiots, the object of the exercise like that of the ‘false flag posting’ is to to create doubt and confusion, to diminish my authority not enhance it as would have happened if they took me up on the offer to have Mick verify my particulars.

    I am not really interested in the Truly Useless Vestige…… I wanted to expose their tactics for what they were. Any decent tolerant Unionist of whatever shade, know now that I could back up what I said and that these gutless wonders with all their ‘False Flags’ and other clever clog activities were walked into it and afraid to ‘put up’

    Of course these Truly Useless Vestige types will not shut up either but who cares ? As it says in the Good Book, empty vessels make the most noise and that is what they have shown to be on this Island and Internationally.

    Remember Turgon stated some months back that he would not engage with me,? He did and the ‘Old Windbag’ is now exposed for what he and his ilk really are !

    Mission accomplished !

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    “People like our mainland friend will never be reached, but that’s okay. They are not the yardstick.”
    You contrast me with Trevor Ringland and say I “will never be reached”, choosing to ignore what I said about having been tempted to wear a GAA shirt. I would also have been tempted to attend a match and was indeed keen to do so during my time living in Dublin; it’s only by chance really that I didn’t go and I have a Prod friend down there who does go, though we have very different politics. My politics are also well to the left of Mr Ringland’s. So I rather think I probably am the yardstick. Don’t kid yourself on that many unionists are impressed by the GAA’s rules. The best you can hope for goodwill from people not aware of the rules or who prefer (honorably) to let discomfort with the rules pass in the interests of cross-community cohesion. But the you won’t find unionists actually reading that and liking it.

  • pippakin

    MV

    Well you certainly seem more like your ‘old self’ now. I find your historical accounts interesting and I hope you do not get disheartened and give up.

    For some reason commenting on sites like Slugger occasionally brings out the worst in all of us.

    And you know it’s not mission accomplished! Not yet…

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    “International literary awards” ?!? If that’s true, I’m giving up trying to get my novel published. Probably a good idea anyway, to be fair.

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    Alan,
    Like Billy Pilgrim’s whose “good work” you seem to approve of – he called me a liar without any reason for doing so – you’re all over the place here. You seem to have veered off on tangents about Jesse Owens’s career, as if that was answering the point. You’re not on “QI”.

    The point was about inclusiveness in sport and how his treatment at the Olympics was an early example of popular revulsion at people being treated differently as sportspeople because of their creed or colour. You rightly point to “the blacks who protested in Mexico were similalry shunned – as was the Austrlaian siliver medallist who joined them.” Precisely, there are numerous examples of racism in sport and of those who stand against it being pilloried. So, I agree with you, the GAA finds itself part of an ignoble tradition of cultural and racial exclusivism in sport – and it is not the only example of it. But personally, I support the drive to take racism and sectarianism out of sport where it exists and keep it out. Glad you do too, So like I say, have a word with the GAA.

    As for “Hitler, by all accounts, treated Owens ok.” Well, if you think treating someone as your racial inferior is OK, that goes a long way to explaining your defence of the GAA’s reactionary attempts at “politics”, which have ended up making them look like morons.

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    Sorry, in my annoyance at the libellous part of your comment, I forgot to take apart the following:

    “No-one “championed” Owens other than himself – as in, he made himself a champion on the track.”
    Really? Other people did champion Owens of course, not just in the US team but among a wider public who disliked Nazi Germany. He was hugely popular, albeit that he soon got forgotten about and became a sad figure. But there was a lot of comment in 1936 in favour of his achievement, just look at the contemporary newspapers and newsreels.

    “People knew Hitler was a twat before the games, except for those who thought he was wonderful. Few minds were changed as a result of the games.”
    I didn’t imply they had changed their minds; just irrelevant.

    “And the anecdote about Hitler refusing to shake Owens’ hand did not come to light ’til Owens told it in an interview in the 1970s.”
    So you disagree with Alan Maskey on this then – he said “Hitler, by all accounts, treated Owens ok.” Whatever … but all this nonsense about the details of Jesse Owens’s achievement is missing the wood for the trees. To keep it simple the point was, looking at people’s race or creed before wanting to play sport with or against them is wrong. And you (and the GAA) don’t seem to be actually able to counter that.

  • Blair

    Munster,

    Is it true that the current republican membership can be broken down into the ‘haves’ and ‘the have yachts’?

  • Munsterview

    No, not quite mission accomplished perhaps, but anyone now questioning my credibility can call it and there is a means of verification there ! All a poster in my situation can do is appeal to reasonable people .

    Reasonable people now know the Truly Useless Vestige can put up and have my credentials verified any time they like. However a delicious catch 22 irony, if they do so, they will only enhance my credibility at the expense of their own !

    I have no doubt that the taunts, sarcasm and jeers that pass for political exchanges with opponents will continue from the Truly Useless Vestige , but it can now be seen for what it is. They have been out maneuvered and any reader that enjoy a good spat ( and most do) will know who won and lost in this encounter.

    This current spat arose out of what I claimed was a ‘False Flag’ incident from one of the Truly Useless Vestige camp or from a fellow traveller.

    While this is a legitimate posting tactic,( the net is full of it ), never the less it shows a poverty of positional argument and an unrealistic arrogant belief that such ‘clever clogs’ are so way superior intellectually to their political opponents that the latter will not recognize such subterfuge for what it is !

    Behind the facade of ‘British English’ sailing metaphors and all the carefully constructed artifice of civilized debate and values, the old visceral reactions that Nationalists are second class citizens who should know their place and be grateful for their status, remains.

    Stuff that and the proponents of it also !

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    Slightly off the point here but have to pick up on something Ed Curran says here about Croke Park: “As one of those lucky enough to be in Croke Park for the Ireland versus England rugby international, I can vouch for how much that meant to those of us who did not come from a GAA background. It was only a game but that day should go down in Irish history books as a watershed occasion.”

    Playing rugby on a sports field usually used for another sport: why is that such a big deal? I thought that whole episode was yet another example of Irish over-sensitivity making a mountain out of a molehill. They play rugby league in the Theatre of Dreams, American football at Wembley and, sports fans, I play 7-a-side every week using hockey nets, with some lasses playing lacrosse on the pitch next door. “Watersheds” all. Get over yourselves with the Croke Park nonsense. I went to a gig there in 1986, I didn’t realise it was hallowed turf (though I did get random sectarian abuse from a stranger in a pub nearby).

    The funniest thing from that day was that twonk Ronan O’Gara belting out his national anthem with tears in his eyes like some idiot, as if this was a great emotional moment for the “Ireland” team – apparently forgetting that he was actually playing in a joint Irish-British team – then, emotionally spent, failing to sing a word of the neutral anthem the authorities play as a pathetically reluctant half-nod at the British members of the Ireland team.

    So much for a watershed for “Ireland”. It only showed the continuing navel-gazing insensitivity of those running Irish rugby to the national identity of the British quarter of the team. It has now got even the heads-down garden-centre rugby fraternity starting to notice things aren’t right there. Though not, it seems, Ed Curran. I speak as a former rugby player myself, of no distinction, and a former enthusiastic Ireland supporter as a child.

  • Munsterview

    Conceded : I sailed into that one; make the most of it as I am sure you will !

  • pippakin

    MV

    Credibility on the web is always in the eye of the beholder, any of us could be anyone I would not be surprised to find you have been exchanging ‘blows’ with an ex RUC person…

    I look forward to the next thread when no doubt for us it will be daggers drawn, as usual.

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    apologies for typos btw, I am tired, hope you got the sense of it

  • Billy Pilgrim

    MU

    Please explain how the basic aim of the GAA “bans British people”.

    I say it absolutely does nothing of the sort, and that you’re wilfully libelling the GAA. Please explain why I’m wrong.

    My “evidence” as to your lies is that you have said something demonstrably untruthful.

    “And I’m no more convinced of the bona fides towards us Brits of the people supporting the GAA’s stance,”

    As I said, you are not the yardstick. Life is too short to bother with extremists, such as people who call the GAA knuckle-dragging neanderthals.

    “Remember, you need people like me before you can have your united Irish nation, so be nice.”

    But you’re not even here any more, are you ‘Mainland’?

    The GAA already has your hatred. Bending over backwards to placate you, would earn only your contempt too.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Generally, more meaningless waffle.

    “the point was, looking at people’s race or creed before wanting to play sport with or against them is wrong.”

    Indeed, it is wrong. And the GAA is absolutely innocent of doing anything of the sort. Can you provide evidence to the contrary?

    And if you’re going to cite the basic aim of the association, at least attempt to explain HOW that aim equates to “looking at people’s race or creed before wanting to play sport with or against them”.

    Because I say it doesn’t, and you are a, well, you-know-what.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    MU

    “…choosing to ignore what I said about having been tempted to wear a GAA shirt”

    I didn’t ignore it. I addressed it. I said I don’t believe you. I don’t believe you because the rest of your posts so thoroughly undermine your credibility as some sort of near-miss for GAA recruitment.

    “it’s only by chance really that I didn’t go…”

    It really is a pity for your sake that you didn’t. It might have helped you get beyond your silly prejudice.

    “My politics are also well to the left of Mr Ringland’s.”

    What does that have to do with anything?

    “So I rather think I probably am the yardstick.”

    I think NI-domiciled unionists are of more concern.

    “Don’t kid yourself on that many unionists are impressed by the GAA’s rules.”

    I don’t think they’re impressed. I think they are mostly too busy living their lives to get bogged down in this arcane nonsense. You only have to open your eyes to see the quite spectacular good the GAA does every day of the week in communities the length and breadth of Ireland. You have to close your eyes, ears and mind, and hunt obsessively in the little-known fine print for a reason, any reason, any pretext, for your prejudices.

    Most people, whether unionist, nationalist or neither, are simply better than that.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Pip

    I admire your pacifism, but I must return to a point I made to you in a previous thread: sometimes you have to fight.

    If someone says to me: “I’d hate you less if you changed X, Y and Z about yourself,” then I’m afraid that is a time to fight.

    It’s a mistake to regard as a prize a lessening in the hatred of those who wish to destroy you. That hatred is a direct correlative of their inability to do so.

  • Alan Maskey

    The England team in Croker had the sensitivity to enquire what the big deal about playing foreign games there was. Lesson there for some

  • Tabloid , ” This is a major problem for rugby schools ……. manslaughter in Dublin about 12 yrs ago. ” even by your standards, this is a new low. By the way, where were you educated ? You wouldn’t be a ” Blackrock fellow ” would you. Not too many everton fans in the halls of Blackrock College. Go on give us a laugh !

  • pippakin

    Billy Pilgrim

    It is not about those who hate, there will probably always be a few fanatics who cling to something that was never real, those few would never join the GAA anyway.

    A small change would allow the GAA to move with the times and welcome all those who want to join, as they should. It would assist young people to develop a proper idea of Irish unity and embrace their Irish identity.

    I believe it is time for the GAA to become part of the attraction.

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    BP:
    “Please explain how the basic aim of the GAA “bans British people” … I say it absolutely does nothing of the sort, and that you’re wilfully libelling the GAA. Please explain why I’m wrong.”

    They effectively ban British people in Northern Ireland because they say membership will only be granted to “persons who subscribe to further the aims and objects of the GAA” and its “basic aim” is “the strengthening of the National Identity in a 32 County Ireland (sic)”.

    It’s this last phrase that is the key. Now, if the GAA want to argue that the National Identity can also be British, then I stand corrected. But I am assuming they mean 32-county nationalist Irish (non-British) identity here. Am I wrong? So they are only letting British people in on the condition they agree to strengthen a non-British identity for the whole island. This is a contradiction in terms. At best, it’s saying we accept you as long as you drop your Britishness and adopt a wholly 32 county Irish identity. So you have to stop being British to join.
    If I am wrong and the GAA welcomes proudly British members, then that would be great news. Perhaps they could issue a statement to that effect.

    People, like the GAA hierarchy it would seem, who deny that there are two nationalities on the island, in this day and age, are knuckle-draggers in my view’ just as people who deny the legitimacy of Irish identity in Ulster are too. I stand by that comment.

    You repeat the word “lies” again without justification. It is of course defamatory even on these pages and I will draw Mick’s attention to it – you’re going to get him and yourself in trouble if you’re not more careful with your language.

    On my not being here any more, I did say “people like me” rather than just me. Also, while I’m living in another part of the country at the moment, I will be moving back to my home province at some point, so you aren’t rid of me entirely. And remember, your Irish nation is supposed to include anyone born on the island 😉 So I remain part of what you need to unify.

    On the “hatred” point, I don’t hate the GAA, I just hate the sectarian approach to sport they have adopted. They can change and I hope they do. I do believe liberal values will ultimately triumph, but there are some slow learners; the GAA are by no means the only example in Northern Ireland. I was listening to the new UUP leader last night and he struck me as another example.

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    “And the GAA is absolutely innocent of doing anything of the sort. Can you provide evidence to the contrary?”
    As explained above, my ethnie is excluded by the GAA due to our British national allegiance – which is an integral part of our ethnic identity.
    “Meaningless waffle” indeed, human rights and cultural respect. Waste of time, eh BP?

  • Billy Pilgrim

    MU

    “my ethnie is excluded by the GAA due to our British national allegiance”

    No it is not. You keep repeating this assertion, which is based not on evidence but on a jaundiced and wildly-extrapolated interpretation of the entirely legitimate cultural objectives of the association.

    No-one is excluded from the GAA. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but there is not a person on earth who would be refused membership.

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    “I didn’t ignore it. I addressed it. I said I don’t believe you. I don’t believe you because the rest of your posts so thoroughly undermine your credibility as some sort of near-miss for GAA recruitment.”

    1. Saying “I don’t believe you” is not addressing it, it’s just denying it.
    2. Again you misunderstand, I did not claim to be a near miss for GAA recruitment, I am a near miss for wearing a GAA shirt. Which is quite credible in that I am comfortable with multiple identities and can countenance being both a unionist and enjoying GAA.

    “silly prejudice”
    Not really, for the reasons stated. I ask the GAA only for parity of esteem, this is surely not too much to ask.

    On the “What does that have to do with anything?” as regards Ringland’s politics, remember you cited him earlier as an example of the kind of unionist who should be the “yardstick”.

    “I think NI-domiciled unionists are of more concern.”
    1. I agree. But my points are still valid and you have to address them. I know I am more liberal than most back in Northern Ireland on a range of issues so I still think I’m a decent yardstick on this.
    2. I have been deliberately up front on Slugger about my not living in NI at the moment. A lot of other Northern Irish people post from America, the Republic and elsewhere without being so clear about it.

    “I think they are mostly too busy living their lives to get bogged down in this arcane nonsense. You only have to open your eyes to see the quite spectacular good the GAA does every day of the week in communities the length and breadth of Ireland. You have to close your eyes, ears and mind, and hunt obsessively in the little-known fine print for a reason, any reason, any pretext, for your prejudices.

    Most people, whether unionist, nationalist or neither, are simply better than that.”

    We are all more engaged in picking over the culture of Northern Ireland on this site than the average punter, by definition. In terms of the GAA, I was one of those people who was happy enough to let things pass, until I read this thread. But I was shocked at the GAA rules. We are all too tolerant of sectarianism and too ready to find excuses for it.

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    “No one is excluded from the GAA.

    Oh come on! Once again: membership will only be granted to “persons who subscribe to further the aims and objects of the GAA” and its “basic aim” is “the strengthening of the National Identity in a 32 County Ireland (sic)”. So if you don’t subscribe to those aims, you are excluded.

    That would include anyone with allegiance to the British state. You haven’t been able to answer my points and getting annoyed isn’t going to help you.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    MU

    “They effectively ban…”

    Ah, so we’re now shifting the goalposts from “banning” to “effectively banning”.

    “It’s this last phrase that is the key. Now, if the GAA want to argue that the National Identity can also be British, then I stand corrected.”

    It’s for the GAA membership to discuss what this means. If you joined, you could add your voice to the debate, which is eternal.

    “But I am assuming they mean 32-county nationalist Irish (non-British) identity here. Am I wrong?”

    You are certainly wrong to make such an assumption, and then make scurrilous and libellous remarks based not on what the GAA says, but on what you assume they mean by what they say.

    “So they are only letting British people in on the condition they agree to strengthen a non-British identity for the whole island.”

    Except that that is NOT what the GAA says, nor is it remotely close to the truth. It is fevered nonsense that exists only in the minds of people who know nothing about the GAA except that they hate it.

    “At best, it’s saying we accept you as long as you drop your Britishness and adopt a wholly 32 county Irish identity.”

    No, it’s not saying anything of the sort. YOU are the one saying that. You are crazy.

    “If I am wrong and the GAA welcomes proudly British members, then that would be great news. Perhaps they could issue a statement to that effect.”

    Or perhaps you could just stop being so insanely wrong-headed to begin with?

    “People, like the GAA hierarchy it would seem, who deny that there are two nationalities on the island,”

    But the GAA does nothing of the sort. Your original “assumption” has led you to all sorts of crazy conclusions.

    “you’re going to get him and yourself in trouble if you’re not more careful with your language.”

    Are you threatening to sue Mick?

    “I don’t hate the GAA,”

    But you behave so hatefully towards it, and say such hateful things. How can you be so sure you do not hate?

    “I just hate the sectarian approach to sport they have adopted.”

    But you are so completely wrong in your assumptions. The GAA that exists in your fevered imaginings is nothing like the one that exists in real life. If you can’t see that, if you can’t begin to open yourself to that possibility, then frankly, nothing you have to say should be taken seriously by anyone, least of all the GAA.

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    I know what they think the big deal is – difference is, I challenge them on making a big deal out of it. You can’t expect English rugby players to be anything other than rather credulous sponges on that kind of issue.

    Many English people take Irish nationalist discourse at face value and imagine feelings of victimhood must be commensurate with the wrong suffered. The whole piece of theatre was aimed at an audience they knew would buy whatever is thrown at them of a “colonial guilt” flavour. Jaded observers from NI were less credulous. I personally found the whole spectacle both stomach-churning and hilarious in equal measure. “Foreign games”, really, I mean come on man.

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    BP:
    You haven’t really answered anything here.

    “so we’re now shifting the goalposts from “banning” to “effectively banning”.
    No – effectively banning has the same effect as banning. That’s what it means.

    “It’s for the GAA membership to discuss what this means. If you joined, you could add your voice to the debate, which is eternal.”
    Indeed, it is for those members to change the rules I would guess, though I couldn’t join as I don’t agree with its (political) aims. They may be in breach of human rights legislation but basically the best hope is to get change from within, I agree.

    “You are certainly wrong to make such an assumption, and then make scurrilous and libellous remarks based not on what the GAA says, but on what you assume they mean by what they say.”
    Really? So what is this “National Identity” exactly then? I’m happy for them to stand or fall on their words, not mine.

    “Except that that is NOT what the GAA says, nor is it remotely close to the truth. It is fevered nonsense that exists only in the minds of people who know nothing about the GAA except that they hate it.”
    I’m only going on THEIR own words, where they require members to support the 32 county “National Identity”. Clearly it does not exist only in my mind, I wish it did.

    “No, it’s not saying anything of the sort. YOU are the one saying that. You are crazy.”
    It is requiring members to subscribe to 32 country Irish nationalism, is it not? I’ve quoted the exact words several times to you, I’m not sure which parts of that you don’t get. Think it through – that means you can’t be a member, presumably, if you don’t subscribe to that, ergo if you are unionist you can’t be a member. Clearly you could lie and say you agreed with the objects of the GAA in order to get membership; or you could abandon your own national identity. But why should either be required of anyone to play a sport? It is absurd.

    “Or perhaps you could just stop being so insanely wrong-headed to begin with?”
    So does the GAA welcome us Brits or not? You still haven’t exactly reassured me that my community is welcome in the GAA.

    “But the GAA does nothing of the sort. Your original “assumption” has led you to all sorts of crazy conclusions.”
    They refer to “the National Identity”, as if there is only one. Clearly this is just wrong. Stage one in building respect for other ethnic groups and national allegiances is acknowledging they exist. This is something Irish nationalism has been historically pretty bad at, though the GFA did put that one to bed once and for all in the political realm. Which is why the GAA rules now look particularly out-dated.

    “Are you threatening to sue Mick?”
    No, as a former lawyer I have an aversion to legal action. But just to warn you, Mick as publisher gets landed in it if defamation does happen on the site, so it was just a word to the wise. Don’t worry I am unlikely to actually sue anyone. But you know very well that words like “liar” are not something you can just throw around in a standard argument on Slugger.

    “But you behave so hatefully towards it, and say such hateful things. How can you be so sure you do not hate?”

    Once again, I just hate the sectarian approach to sport they have adopted.

    “But you are so completely wrong in your assumptions. The GAA that exists in your fevered imaginings is nothing like the one that exists in real life. If you can’t see that, if you can’t begin to open yourself to that possibility, then frankly, nothing you have to say should be taken seriously by anyone, least of all the GAA”
    I’m only judging them on their own words and actions. If they want to avoid this kind of, I would argue, reasoned response, they should look at their constitution. They should be asking, what can we do to make this organisation a welcoming and inclusive place, without giving up the cultural heritage we value. I would support them in that. Celtic FC for example have signed up to various anti-sectarianism initiatives and have made some efforts to distance themselves from those fans who try to bring Irish Republicanism into the football ground. I hope the GAA will give militant Irish Republicanism similarly short shrift; neither it not militant Loyalism have any place anywhere near a sports field.

  • Alan Maskey

    One of the issues involved the original Bloody Sunday when the Black and Tans shot dead twelve people in Croke Park, including Mick Hogan, after whom the Hogan Stand is named. I take it you feel no guilt over that Croke Park massacre. Perhaps the Black and Tans were the victims and that Catholics should be insensitised to their own slaughter before, dutring and after 1920.

    I note you were a victim of random sectarian taunts in a north Dublin pub. Not after a rugby match but after a gig. Yeah, sure.

    The Irish rugby team is Irish, not British. The British and Irish Lions are a mixture of British and Irish.

    I feel your problem and those of like minded souls might be that you just hate the idea of Catholics or whoever enjoying themselves at GAA gigs and not giving a toss about you or your inverted/perverted sense of victimhood. Maybe you would like every day to be like a Presbyterian Sunday: long faces, long sermons and longing to be anywhere else but in a fucked up 1950s’ Orange Stateet backwater.

    People like Trevor Ringland and WJ McBride could rise above that and achieve measures of greatness on the field without compromising themselves.

    Irish Catholic boxers won gold medals for NI at the Commonwealth Games. Martin O’Neil has taken various Royalist awards, much to the chagrin of PSF.

    You and your ilk, to paraphrase the great Catholic and GAA playing poet Paddy Kavanagh, prefer to sail in the puddles of the past.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    “So if you don’t subscribe to those aims, you are excluded.”

    If you do not subscribe to those aims, you are nevertheless free to join, and to argue for the aims to be changed. no-one, repeat no-one is “excluded” from joining the GAA.

    “Exclusion” is a very specific and serious charge. What you are doing is explaining why unionists might not wish to join the GAA; you are explaining the reasons for the unionist boycott of Gaelic games. You have not explained how anyone is “excluded”.

    The GAA does not exclude anyone. If you don’t believe me, apply for membership of your local club and you’ll see. (There are many thriving clubs in Britain.) You won’t be asked to swear any oaths.

    Some unionists insist on boycotting the GAA. That is their right, but the reasons for the boycott are paltry and should not concern decent people.

  • JM

    It was the press that made a big deal out of it. Didn’t the NI Sec of State suggest that GSTQ/flag not be used and the nephew of the player (Michael Hogan) who was shot came out and the GAA said that was not necessary that England were very welcome to play in Croke Park.

    Many English people were shocked when they heard what had happened at a football match and I think it was obvious from the response of people in general in Ireland that it was time to move on from that.

    O’Gara isn’t the only Ireland player not to bother with singing Ireland’s Call. Most of the NI born players are not bothered either.

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    You’re right I feel no guilt over what someone did in 1912 that I have never supported. Had I been there I would have been as horrified as anyone else. So why should I feel guilty?

    “I note you were a victim of random sectarian taunts in a north Dublin pub. Not after a rugby match but after a gig. Yeah, sure.”
    So you’re going down the denial route! Were you there Alan? Actually it was before the gig. These punters heard our accents and made it clear we weren’t welcome, so we left. Hand on heart.

    “The Irish rugby team is Irish, not British. The British and Irish Lions are a mixture of British and Irish.”
    I think you’ll find the Irish rugby team contains people of both Irish and British national identity and always has done. Note that when I country of 60 million teams up with a country of 4 million, Irish identity is recognised. But when a country of 4 million teams up with a province of 1.7 million, they do not give recognition to British identity. Well done the Lions, not so well done the IRFU I’d say.

    “I feel your problem and those of like minded souls might be that you just hate the idea of Catholics or whoever enjoying themselves at GAA gigs and not giving a toss about you or your inverted/perverted sense of victimhood. Maybe you would like every day to be like a Presbyterian Sunday: long faces, long sermons and longing to be anywhere else but in a fucked up 1950s’ Orange Stateet backwater.”
    1. I wasn’t aware the GAA were a touring band. I’ll have to check out one of their gigs. 😉
    2. Victimhood is not the monopoly of anyone, neither you nor me. Your reference to Ulster Protestant victimhood being somehow “inverted/perverted” is revealing of where you think the centre of victimhood gravity lies, even after the Troubles. No surprises there. But Republicans’ idea of their own status as “victims in chief” is consigned to the dustbin now for good.
    3. I am a lifelong atheist and have only been to church for weddings, funerals etc

    “People like Trevor Ringland and WJ McBride could rise above that and achieve measures of greatness on the field without compromising themselves.”
    Ringland has spoken of how his father had to sit in a different seat every time he came to watch his son playing at Lansdowne Road, to avoid assassination. Good for Trevor for his efforts on the pitch, but his family should not have had to go through that. And he has also added his voice to calls for a change in the way the Northern Ireland involvement in the team is treated through flags and anthems.

    As for Willie John, he is of my dad’s generation and I know the attitudes of that rugby fraternity well. There is something to be said for their keeping “politics” out of it entirely. The problem is though that their selflessness here was not reciprocated by the Republic’s rugby people, who insisted on playing only the Republic’s anthem and flying the Republic’s flag, with no Northern Ireland flag flown lest it “cause offence”. The Ulster players were big for taking an apolitical attitude – if only others had lived up to their standards.

    The final straw was a few years ago when Ireland played a match at Ravenhill and the IRFU still refused to allow a British flag to be flown. You reach a point where you just have to say ‘no more’ to that kind of nonsense. As a result I don’t support Ireland myself any more.

  • turnpike

    The GAA as a touring band!! More like one man band (they don’t like playing with anyone else)

    -only touring in rural Ireland, a few holes in North Dublin, ‘da Narrd’, ‘six counties’ of anything as long as they don’t call it Northern Ireland.
    – Dreamed up in the previous 12 months while pretending to have historic roots.

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    JM,
    Yes, “Ireland’s Call” is a bit of a joke really. They should bite the bullet and play GSTQ.

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    Brick wall, clearly. You are supposed to be trying to explain why the membership rules are the way they are. Now you seem to be saying they don’t have any, anyone can join. Well great. Except the, um, membership rules are still there.

  • Alan Maskey

    JM: The point is the England team were gracious/civilised enough to find out what was the crack with foreign games in Croker. The Bloody Sinday (1920 btw) outrage was far from a one off and the GAA remains one of the main targets of naughty Prods.
    An element objected to the visits of the Royals, despite it being pointed out that Princess Anne having to watch Scotland playing was punishment enough. Few really care waht she does; I personally would commend her for her support of Scotland. I am sure she would prefer to do other things.
    The soccer crew are a different bunch and they cause trouble wherever they go. One things of Jack Charlton complaining about the state of Landsdowne, a rugby not a soccer ground.
    Tunrpike: You remind me of Pascal’s dismissal of the Catholic Church’s critics: if they knew of what they spoke, they might be worth responding to. Go rad Liam Hayes’ book for starters.
    And plenty of Cavan people I know would take umbrage at your take. They still go on about John Joe Reilley (Free State officer, I believe).
    MU: Leaving your nit picking (before or after the gig) aside: I doubt they knew you were Prods, practicing or otherwise. Though seasoned watchers might pick up inflections or turns of phrase, Dublin riff raff would not be up to that. You are too sensitive. Rugby internationals are about drinking, partying, gigs, just like the GAA, where watching now, unfortunately, outpaces playing.
    If you were in the type of pub that would tolerate or condone such scum drinking there (your adversaries that is), you were well out of it.
    (whataboutery: the poor bloke from Dun Laoire who went into a Proddy Belfast bar to ask for directions and was shot several times)
    As regards Trevor Ringland’s ol fella, fair play to him for going but it would have been Provos, not rugby guys gunning for him and for something totally unconnected with sporting codes. British army officers and coppers also played there.
    This was an issue with PIRA, not with the IRFU or Garda Speical Branch. Most Ulster Prods would prefer a Landsdowne visit than a trip in the wrong colours to a Premiership game.
    Conflating sporting gigs, rugby or GAA, with the Provos opens the way to targetting GAA members for assassination a la Bloody Sunday mark 1 and plenty of GAA victims during the Troubles so please do not do it.
    PIRA have killed several GAA players, inter country players included during thei bank robberies and sundry other activities.
    Should Munster and Connaught and Leinster get special treatment too or is it just the embittered few in the North East corner of Ireland who like to make a fuss if Catholics doe not lie down 24/7?
    Protestant rugby players – those who attack Harryville excepted had other fish to fry. The late Moss Keane, GAA star and rugby player, said there were no borders n dressing rooms.
    He should have stayed with the GAA where Baltingallss palyers will not pass to Blessington ones who will not pass to Rathnew ones etc.
    You know MU, your lot would do great in the GAA and on All Ireland day. Don’t pass to Wicklow Fenians and make sure the start of the game is held up by playing deference to your hangups. Your duce could join the Irish President and sundry religious hangers on in getting ditties played for them before the main event.

    As regards not supporting Ireland because of your flag huff (how Protestant is that), you would fit right in with the soccer w–kers in the South. After Roy Keane did his moment in the World Cup, the tracker knackers hated him and boohed him loudly when next he donned the green (or was it red?) in Dublin. But after 10 minutes, when he put his all into it, they cheered like the little babies they are at heart.

    The GAA, along with other codes, is a passion for many. A relatively harmless one. Go read Liam Hayes’ book.

    One more interesting point before I go. Peadar Heffron, a GAA players of some note, suffered a horrific injury because he tried to build bridges of the type you and your lot should approve. But not mentioned yet.
    What put him into my head was thinking what Ulster Prods would want to play GAA. Not those raised on other codes I would imagine. Cross overs are poor in number.

    Perhaps Mr Mccausland and Ms McIlveen could give the GAA grants to introduce GAA into Protestant and state schools. From little acorns.

  • pippakin

    Alan Maskey

    ” Perhaps Mr Mccausland and Ms McIlveen could give the GAA grants to introduce GAA into Protestant and state schools. From little acorns. ”

    Perhaps they would and perhaps the British would not give them a choice. if only the GAA would extend its welcome to all as it should.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    MU

    “You are supposed to be trying to explain why the membership rules are the way they are.”

    Er, no, I’m not. I’m pointing out that the “membership rules” (as you call them) do not prevent anyone on earth from joining the association, contrary to your untruthful assertions about a “ban”. You are unable to explain how the basic aim of the association is a “ban” on anyone. You are using them to justify a boycott, which is very nearly the opposite of a ban.

    There is no GAA ban: there is a unionist boycott.

    I would like you to admit that the GAA does not actually have a ban on anyone, contrary to your earlier lies.

    “Now you seem to be saying they don’t have any, anyone can join. Well great. Except the, um, membership rules are still there.”

    There is no ban. Anyone may join. There are no oaths. You just turn up at your local club and tell them you want to play. As long as you aren’t already affiliated to another club, you can consider yourself a member from that moment on. The only responsibility on you is to pay your membership dues. (In my club it’s £20 per annum.) That’s it.

    Clearly, after the changes to rules 21 and 42, the onus is on the rejectionist wing of unionism to respond by dropping their unjustified and unjustifiable boycott of the GAA.

    In this day and age it’s disgraceful that so many still take a “touch not the unclean thing” attitude to such an exemplary organisation.

  • Alan Maskey

    http://multitext.ucc.ie/d/Archbishop_Croke__the_GAA_November_1884
    Yes maybe the GAA should give it all up and play the foreign games the great Archbishop Thomas Croke described as effeminate. The list of these effeminate imports, croquet, cricket, polo and the like that the degenerate dandies like is not for us. Say waht you like about them, they are about as Irish as green beer. We were made for greater stuff.
    The clash of the ash, snap apple and throwing the sledge. Who could imagine Brian Boru, Red Hugh O’Donnell or Fiach McHugh O’Byrne engaging in such foreign frivolities. Easy to picture Brian Boru thundering through in a Clare jersey, the sliotar stuck to his stick, blood curdling Clare cries coming from his gut and Dubhhlinners falling around him like (foreign) ten pins as he storms towards the Hill wielding his wooden weapon with deadly effect.
    Or Red Hugh O’Donnell in the green and gold of Donegal storming the lands of the O’Rourke or O’Neill , taking no prisoners and putting all but the bravest and best to flight.
    So is the GAA to renounce Cusack and Croke, Devine and DeValera, to say nothing of our hallowed ancestors? Methinks not.
    On the shoulders of giants as a nasty little Englishman once said.

  • pippakin

    Alan Maskey

    I see no reason why the GAA should change their sporting ethos or the games they choose to play.

    [comment edited – mods – keep it civil and keep it clean please]

  • Alan Maskey

    http://www.rte.ie/sport/gaa/championship/2010/1018/ohailpins.html

    Cork shocker. This earthquake (imho) is a bigger and more immediate potential problem to the GAA than all the potential female unionist camogie players. Certainly, a much bigger problem for the GAA than McCausland’s views are such institutional bottlenecks epitomised by the infamous Frank Murphy. If Denis Walsh’s decision was influenced in any way by Murphy, this is really big, much bigger and important than McCausland.

  • JM

    Mainland Ulsterman

    “I think you’ll find the Irish rugby team contains people of both Irish and British national identity and always has done. Note that when I country of 60 million teams up with a country of 4 million, Irish identity is recognised. But when a country of 4 million teams up with a province of 1.7 million, they do not give recognition to British identity. Well done the Lions, not so well done the IRFU I’d say.”

    Willie John McBride, Syd Miller, Mike Gibson, Moss Keane, Ciaran Fitzgerald didn’t play for the British and IRISH Lions. They played for the British Lions. The first British & Irish Lions tour was just 9 years ago. Keith Wood campaigned for the name change and embarrassed them into changing it – not Syd Miller or the IRFU. He probably would have let it go if Davy Tweed hadn’t behaved as badly as he did and Syd Miller (then President of the IRFU) didn’t censor him. (PS – you fail to mention that approx. 50% of that 1.7m population don’t identify with the British identity.

    “The final straw was a few years ago when Ireland played a match at Ravenhill and the IRFU still refused to allow a British flag to be flown. You reach a point where you just have to say ‘no more’ to that kind of nonsense. As a result I don’t support Ireland myself any more.”

    It probably has nothing to do with the fact that Ulster Rugby are doing their best to keep Ravenhill a flag free zone as much as possible so as to be attractive to support from both traditions. Unlike the GAA, Ulster rugby need to build up their support and sell match tickets.

    “Yes, “Ireland’s Call” is a bit of a joke really. They should bite the bullet and play GSTQ.”

    They did.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CQ6-bYixpYE

    Since we play England every year, you get to sing GSTQ once a year at rugby matches.

    “Ringland has spoken of how his father had to sit in a different seat every time he came to watch his son playing at Lansdowne Road, to avoid assassination. Good for Trevor for his efforts on the pitch, but his family should not have had to go through that. And he has also added his voice to calls for a change in the way the Northern Ireland involvement in the team is treated through flags and anthems.”

    I think what Ringland’s father did was swap the tickets that Trevor gave him so as not to be a sitting duck – surely a wise move for someone in the RUC. I presume if he was going to Windsor Park he would do the same – hardly a huge penance to sit in a different seat from the previous game you were at.

    I also seem to remember Ringland saying that he had no doubt in his mind that the Special Branch/Gardai that protected them when they were in Dublin would have put their lives on the line to protect them.

  • Alan Maskey

    If that is too “Eire-ish” for you guys, how about the fighting men of Crossmaglen, who have just beaten the ones they hate – Dromintee – to be kings of Armagh and to have now more country championships than any other club in Ireland (if we could use that term).
    Pity some of you guys were not at the match. You could tell them that they are British and not inclusive. Those local rivalries are something else and, if you don’t have the passion, you can’t understand.

    I wonder if Slab and the boys attended. Or even Chris Donnelly, who generally takes an interest in such matters.,

    Any word on what McCausland and McIlveen made of it. Maybe they were watching the Kerry final between Austin Stacks and Crokes along with one of our esteemed commenters. If so good luck to them though I hope the colourful history of both clubs did not put them off.

    Then we have the International with the Aussie Rules thugs starting.

    But best of all, we have the great Michael Cusack, who famously spoke of the glory of the little parish.

    The Afghans would understand that. Roy Keane understands it. Anthony Tohill understands it. Orangies never willl.

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    I genuinely enjoyed that response Alan, though I didn’t agree with all of it. We’ll leave it there.

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    “Willie John McBride, Syd Miller, Mike Gibson, Moss Keane, Ciaran Fitzgerald didn’t play for the British and IRISH Lions. They played for the British Lions. The first British & Irish Lions tour was just 9 years ago.”
    Yes that was belated, But why didn’t the culturally sensitive Mr Wood address the same problem in his own backyard?

    “It probably has nothing to do with the fact that Ulster Rugby are doing their best to keep Ravenhill a flag free zone as much as possible so as to be attractive to support from both traditions. Unlike the GAA, Ulster rugby need to build up their support and sell match tickets.”
    Yes you’re right, it isn’t connected to that. It caused quite a fuss at the time, because the excuse used for only flying the tricolour for Ireland matches had been that they were played at Lansdowne Road / Croke Park and somehow people in the Republic would turn to stone if they had to see the national flag of some of the team they support flying in the stadium in which they play. This bluff was called when they played in the Belfast and the IRFU refused to have the union flag flying to represent the British part of the joint Irish team.

    “Yes, “Ireland’s Call” is a bit of a joke really. They should bite the bullet and play GSTQ.”
    They did.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CQ6-bYixpYE

    Haha! They were playing that for the England players, I think you’ll find. I meant they should be playing it for the Ireland players at every match. It’s really a test of how grown-up Irish nationalism is these days – can it get its head around respecting Britishness on the island, 12 years now after formally promising to do so. Sadly it still fails.

    “Ringland’s father … hardly a huge penance to sit in a different seat from the previous game you were at.”
    Oh come on. Moving seats was hardly the point. Ever been under threat of death by terrorists? It’s a bit stressful I’m told.

  • Alan Maskey

    Good points JM. I watched the video and followed it up with the Taffy and Jock songs. Some points:
    1. The Poms blasted out GTSQ well in Croker, with a little bit of crowd support. Fair play to them.
    2. Most of the Micks sang the national anthem well. But the other song is a bit of a joke. Worse, unless they are doing the haka, it is as well just to get on with the game.
    The Taffs have a great record of singing, as they once had one in rugby (G Edwards etc) and Cardiff Arms park was a formidable place when they were top dog.
    But the Jock sissy private school boys. singing Flower of Scotland had zero punch. I have heard Celtic supporters sing it. And the have something the Scottish intenrational rugby team do not have. Passion.
    The Scottish rugby catchment area is almost as pitiable as the Irish (including c–ts like Tweed). The Irish wonder is how they have almost always managed to get the makings of a good team (but never a complete team) from such thin resources.
    England of course are the big joke. More people paly rugby in England than in any other country. But they are always nearly shite. No passion. Just like their soccer crowd. Resurrect Alan Ball.
    One wonders do Mccausalnd and McIlveen get passionate about anything?

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    BP,
    “I would like you to admit that the GAA does not actually have a ban on anyone, contrary to your earlier lies.

    At it again. How difficult is this? They require you to be a nationalist. How can you not see that that means a unionist cannot sign up? Reminds me of the Constable Savage sketch in Not The Nine O’Clock News – he wasn’t arrested for being black but he was arrested for “possession of curly black hair and thick lips.” The thing about discrimination is, you have to think about things that you don’t intend to be discriminatory but which are so. It’s not enough to say we don’t intend to be discriminatory when you have those membership rules, not to mention all the IRA-revering nonsense I hear about at some grounds.

    “Clearly, after the changes to rules 21 and 42, the onus is on the rejectionist wing of unionism to respond by dropping their unjustified and unjustifiable boycott of the GAA.”
    Well, I’m not from the rejectionist wing of unionism, I’m an Alliance supporter at the moment, though a former UUP supporter before the Tory tie-up. I was a vocal supporter of the GFA and have been a consistent advocate of centrist politics. It’s on those liberal principles that I find the GAA’s aims odd and utterly out of place in a modern sporting body.

  • pippakin

    MU

    Yes it is bad enough for everyone in disputed areas to know they are at risk. It must be so much worse for someone to know they are a specific target.

    The atmosphere has changed and although there is some way to go I really believe the final steps to acceptance are within reach.

  • Alan Maskey

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D8hzfrTPo6E

    Dump the anthems altogether. How about a haka and a half. Some great Munster- All Black clashes. Great the way Munster can wind them up and aren’t unduly stressed.

    The big wide world of sport. Let me see. Munster excel at all GAA games, rugby, Man Utd, some athletics, a bit brhin on boxing. And they have to moan that some Prots feel uncomfortable because every day is not the 12th of July.

  • JM

    Mainland Ulsterman

    “Yes that was belated, But why didn’t the culturally sensitive Mr Wood address the same problem in his own backyard?”

    I would presume because Dr Miller (who failed to address the British Lions naming when he was in charge), had addressed the issued about 5 years earlier and gave the world ‘Ireland’s Call.” How is that for cultural insensitivity! It would have been very disrespectful of Mr Wood to interfere in that decision. Did it ever occur to you that Miller & Ireland players didn’t want to end up in a ludicrous situation where on a yearly basis two teams would meet that had the same anthem!

    “Yes you’re right, it isn’t connected to that. It caused quite a fuss at the time, because the excuse used for only flying the tricolour for Ireland matches had been that they were played at Lansdowne Road / Croke Park and somehow people in the Republic would turn to stone if they had to see the national flag of some of the team they support flying in the stadium in which they play. This bluff was called when they played in the Belfast and the IRFU refused to have the union flag flying to represent the British part of the joint Irish team.”

    So Ulster Rugby is not now part of the IRFU and shared no part in the decision making then? And spare a thought for the one or two NI born players who might just not want to be put in the spotlight like that. It was a great opportunity for Ulster Rugby to build up a nationalist fanbase in NI. Considering the number of players from Leinster & Munster now playing rugby who had a GAA background, its fairly amazing that Tommy Bowe is still the only Ulster player to have played Gaelic football in his youth. Fair play to Ulster Rugby to try and address that.

    “Haha! They were playing that for the England players, I think you’ll find.”

    So, when Ireland play England every year, do you propose that GSTQ be played twice!

    “Oh come on. Moving seats was hardly the point. Ever been under threat of death by terrorists? It’s a bit stressful I’m told.”

    Would he have done the same in Windsor Park? Ringland’s job put him in danger and at least he knew what the score was. And nothing happened to him. [moderated – allegation removed. If you want to say something contentious about alleged criminal activities, please do it elsewhere]. The outcome for them and their families wasn’t so good.

    Alan Maskey
    “The big wide world of sport. Let me see. Munster excel at all GAA games, rugby, Man Utd, some athletics, a bit brhin on boxing. And they have to moan that some Prots feel uncomfortable because every day is not the 12th of July.”

    You could include horse racing in that one – Coolmore (Tipperary) is probably the most successful racing establishment in the world.

    I don’t think they will take too kindly to being dictated to by the DUP, who don’t seem to realise that Ulster GAA are only a quarter of the organisation and as a democratic organisation, its not in the gift of the Ulster GAA to agree to these changes and the only way to make change is from within which could take several years trying to get that through Congress and of course, they would need someone influencial like the GAA President to champion it (which is doubtful if the present man would as he was against the opening up of Croke Park to Rugby & Soccer).

  • turnpike

    What’s the collective noun for plastic paddies…?