I noted the event at Pomeroy GAA club to remember IRA terrorist Seamus Woods previously and Quincey has an analysis of the GAA below. The DUP Chair of the Assembly’s Culture, Arts & Leisure Committee Michelle McIlveen has now entered the debate.
It is simply not credible for the GAA to preside over rules which claim to prohibit sectarianism or involvement in party politics yet allow events like this to take place within property governed by them. An event to glorify a terrorist and member of an organisation guilty of sectarian murder simply cannot be justified and questions about it cannot be passed over either by the County Board in Tyrone or GAA Headquarters in Dublin.
A statement should be forthcoming from the GAA stating not only what their view is about this event, but about what action they intend to take against the club in question for breaching the rules of the organisation. The GAA has a very clear structure and as an organisation it has the capacity to take disciplinary action against clubs for a range matters. If it should decide not to even make a statement on this issue, let alone take any action then it will simply reinforce in the minds of many that the GAA merely pays lip service to claims of anti-sectarianism and cross-community work.”
Jim Allister has also noted another event being held at a GAA club which seems less than inclusive. This weekend Shane O’Neills GAA club, Camlough are hosting an Ógra Sinn Fein weekend camp entitled “Hunger strike weekend.”
It is interesting to juxtapose these two events against the claims made by Trevor Ringland. In his Platform for Change piece entitled “Sport for Change” the failed ex-UUP politician lauds the GAA with comments such as: “The GAA has moved to a strong anti-sectarian position” and “…sectarianism will not be tolerated and association rules now have strong sanctions against any member who breaches the anti-sectarian policy.”
It is unclear how Ringland would explain away the series of events at GAA clubs: that said Ringland does frequently seem incapable of seeing what is staring him in the face.