Shifting ground in the land of dreary steeples

A day which began with the news that Derry had succeeded with its bid to host  Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in 2013 has ended with the news that Peter Robinson has joined Martin McGuinness in attending the McKenna Cup Final between Tyrone and Derry, the first time the DUP Leader and First Minister has attended a GAA match.

Meanwhile, UUP MLA Basil McCrea appeared at a Sinn Fein-organised discussion on the theme of Uniting Ireland in Derry whilst the republican party received more good news with the latest Red C opinion poll putting the party at 17% in the South and on very safe ground in calling for a referendum on any new European treaty.

Food for thought the next time your tempted to think that little has changed around these parts……

  • Framer

    If Robbo can make love to the GAA why not the gay community?

  • RyanAdams

    It was only a matter of time before he attended a GAA match if he is serious about attracting more votes from the catholic community. However, if his rivals in the UUP continue to rip themselves apart like they have this weekend, and I am in no doubt that they will, the DUP may not even require ‘outreach’ beyond the traditional unionist spectrum in order to grow. And whats even funnier is the fact Peter Robinson was stirring the cauldron that is unionist unity which led to the deepening row within the UUP and is left unscathed. Its almost tragic (for the UUP that is).

  • iluvni

    How’d he handle the anthem?

  • Chris Donnelly

    From what I’ve read, Robinson arrived after throw-in, meaning he ‘missed’ the National Anthem. That’s ok by me, and let’s hope that means any unionist politician criticising a SF minister for missing GSTQ before NI matches will think twice in future.

  • “little has changed around these parts”

    Any chance of you and Pete reaching an accommodation in the Derry v Londonderry Slugger ‘culture wars’, Chris? If Peter and Martin can jig at the cross-roads, why not you two too?

  • BluesJazz

    Watching the GAA match (about 1 % of the NI populace had heard of it) given that Liverpool v Man Utd was the big event of the day, is hardly a big deal.
    The ‘Fleadh’ thing is farcical, it has about the same amount of interest as the ‘Twelfth/Orangefest’.
    The only ‘food for thought’ here is that some moron thinks any of this is a big deal, it isn’t.

  • Mark

    The phrase ” unthinkable a year ago ” is one that is overused ……………but maybe not on this occasion .

  • Chris Donnelly

    BluesJazz
    Your comment perfectly illustrates the segregated nature of our society. The Anfield fixture was certainly the big event sporting-wise today, but the McKenna Cup Final is a straw in the wind for followers of the biggest sport in Ireland.

  • stewart1

    ‘How’d he handle the anthem?’

    Probably in the same way Catholic players have to handle the english anthem at northern Ireland international football matches…put your head down as far as possible, to hide your redner!!!

  • Bluesjazz,

    Why do you feel the need to insult the people who appreciate both events, even if they are few in numbers? Respect is free.

  • BluesJazz

    Robinson’s picture on the BBC website is funny.
    Chris, the biggest sport in Ireland is Horse Racing, no-one among the (several thousand) at the Tyrella point to point meeting today knew about any GAA game, apart from the horses, the conversation was about Suarez.
    Cheltenham is in 6 weeks. Our culture is not segregated, just 2 minor parts of it .

  • BluesJazz

    JoeCanuck
    Liverpool v Man Utd is few in numbers?
    The other events are equivalent to coarse angling. Something I engage in but don’t care if someone says it’s no big deal, which it isn’t.

  • Calling people morons is not “no big deal”.

  • Stu DeNimm

    >Any chance of you and Pete reaching an accommodation in the Derry v Londonderry Slugger ‘culture wars’, Chris?

    How about this: the place name is relative to the topic of the post. If someone is writing about a GAA match, he should call the place Derry. If he is writing about the C of I cathedral, he should refer to Londonderry. If the topic is some kind of shared reference like the river or the battle, the place is called Donderry.

  • He would have made a mark if he’d have come along and stood for our anthem as a mark of respect “for the other tradition” – parity of esteem if you like. Otherwise, he went to a football match on a Saturday night with pleasant company. No biggie..

  • RyanAdams

    Ulick

    Entering after the anthem is no different to what Caral Ni Chuilan did at the Northern Ireland football match . My understanding is that Robinson also politely stayed for the duration after that unlike the DCAL minister who left just after the second half started.

    I wouldn’t expect either to stand for an anthem they or indeed their electorate would be insensitive to, and I think its unfortunate that yourself tonight and others after the Pharoe Islands game reduced it to what I believe in sport should really be a non-issue.

  • Chris Donnelly

    Ryan
    Have the Ancient Egyptians established a new island-based country???

  • Hopping The Border

    This anthem business is frankly ridiculous.

    What is the big deal about standing for the anthem of your neighbouring country (if that is the way you see it, even if the other half see it as the anthem of your country).

    It’s so infantile its tragic.

    If representatives of either section are willing to attend the “others'” supposed sporting tradition why not go the whole hog and be present punctually give respect accordingly. Anything else is simply disrespectful to your neighbour.

    Also BlueJazz as someone pointed out earlier, Pool v MU was undoubtedly the day’s big sporting event but it is farcical suggest 1% of the population were interested in the McK Cup, it was the final of the second biggest ulster competition involving two of ulster’s biggest counties.

    As for your comments concerning the fleadh, they display only your ignorance of the event.

    Finally, to suggest horse racing is the largest sport in Ireland is again way off the pace, unless you are measuring by finance (and even at that it’s a rather dubious claim), participation wise the only sport that comes anywhere near the GAA would be football.

    There is no need to knock something just because (a) you don’t understand it or (b) don’t want to understand it.

  • Hopping The Border

    Typo: and be present punctually and give respect accordingly

  • PaddyReilly

    If he is writing about the C of I cathedral, he should refer to Londonderry.

    Wrong: the C of I diocese is Derry and Raphoe.

  • @RyanAdams

    Yes it was bad manners by Caral but that does not excuse the equally bad manners of Robinson. It’s only a song after all. Both sides showing respect to the others anthem is a much more preferable position that conniving ways to avoid showing respect.

  • Old Mortality

    ‘It’s only a song after all’

    No need to stand while it’s being performed then?

    After this toe-curling exercise in tokenism, at least Robinson can breathe a sigh of relief that he’ll never have to attend another GAA match in his life. Why is it that politicians are expected to attend events in which they have not the slightest interest? I don’t think Robinson is enthusiastic about any sport although I suppose he’d consider it expedient to be seen at Glentoran now and again for the same reason that McGuinness affects an interest in GAA. Is there any record of him having actually played it? Coming from where he does, I doubt it,

  • antamadan

    Old Mort. I understand that Martin’s older brother Paddy actually played for the county, so it may not be ‘affected’.

  • andnowwhat

    Old Mortality

    In GB a politician would attend all sorts oc events that reflect the cultures within their constituency, West Indian or Indian for example.

    As FM, Robinson’s constituancy is greater than that which elected him, it is the entire statelet.

    As for Marty, hiz love of sport is well known. He is/was a keen fisherman and is a keen follower of cricket.

    FAO Bluejaz

    The GAA has, as with other elements of traditonal Irish. Ulture, gone mainstream as a drive or dander through any nationalist area or town wi testify. The kids constantly wear county or team jerseys a d the names of players are known by pretty much all, including girls

  • andnowwhat

    Just watchded the report on Newsline and Peter looked very relaxed, very happy and was clearly enjoying himself.

  • dantheman

    He was waiting for the black & tans to arrive for the half time entertainment!

  • Old Mortality

    antamadam
    I stand corrected. Did he actually play though?

    andnowwhat
    ‘In GB a politician would attend all sorts oc events that reflect the cultures within their constituency, West Indian or Indian for example.
    As FM, Robinson’s constituancy is greater than that which elected him, it is the entire statelet.’
    That’s a bit of an exaggeration on the national level, and they would normally reserve their patronage for a major occasion which I gather this was not.

    ‘Peter looked very relaxed, very happy and was clearly enjoying himself.’
    Not much point in turning up to look miserable. Somehow,I don’t think he’ll be repeating the experience.

    And it’s still empty tokenism.

  • Old Mortality

    dan theman
    Brilliant.
    That’s the funniest riposte, I’ve read on Slugger for ages.

  • Alan N/Ards

    stewart1

    “Probably the same way Catholic players have to handle the english anthem at Northern Ireland international matches…put your head down as far as posible to hide your redner”

    That also seems to be the way the protestant rugby players handle the Republic’s anthem at international matches.

  • BluesJazz

    The biggest annual Irish sporting event is Cheltenham Festival, maybe Peter can visit and have a punt, Enda can stake the IMF bailout dosh on Kauto Star, it’s his best hope of getting a return.

    The biggest sporting event for people in Northern Ireland are the Old Firm games. That’s unfortunate but true.

    Has Marty actually been to a Test match?

  • Mark

    Bluejazz ,

    The biggest annual Irish sporting event could be an All Ireland final or a Euros where The Rep of Ireland are playing like this year but it’s not a race meet in the South of England .

  • BluesJazz

    “The biggest annual Irish sporting event could be an All Ireland final or a Euros where The Rep of Ireland are playing”

    Didn’t know the Euros were an annual event, and that the Republic played every year, more fool me.
    The Irish crowds at Cheltenham, or even Aintree are higher than any other Irish event apart from Celtic v Rangers, the exception being the All -Ireland Gaelic Football final.
    And Parkhead in Glasgow regularly has more attendants than any GAA fixture.
    The difference being that you dont have to be a bigot to attend an Old Firm game, though it does help.

  • Alias

    “The Irish crowds at Cheltenham, or even Aintree…”

    True, and the displacing influence that this 6500 year old sport from Central Asia has had on American and European culture is to be deplored…

    Instead of indulging themselves in the practice British culture, the British are engaging in ancient Asian culture. As for the Irish, the Grand National would be a bigger event. As the steeplecase was invented in Ireland 250 years ago, that’s not suprising. But it’s nice to see the British practice Irish culture, isn’t it?

  • BluesJazz

    yes it is Alias
    Just like the Irish culture of Man Utd v Liverpool and Glasgow Celtic v Glasow Rangers.

    And of course we have Arkle and Shergar

    The British Isles throws up such a mish mash of national culture. Arkle was at mass every Sunday I’m assured.

    Unsure about Shergar.

  • Hopping The Border

    “That also seems to be the way the unionist protestant rugby players handle the Republic’s anthem at international matches.”

    Regrettable but understandable.

    BJ, have you any evidence for these sporting events’ claims or are you clutching at straws to avoid the obvious?

    Finally, the tenor of your last post suggests one has to be a bigot attend a GAA game, a sporting event. Perhaps you could explain how, or is this a further display of ignorance of something you do not wish to understand?

  • @Alan N/Ards

    “[put your head down as far as possible] That also seems to be the way the protestant rugby players handle the Republic’s anthem at international matches.”

    Tommy Bowe doesn’t seem to have a problem with it – he joins in with gusto.

  • Alan N/Ards

    Ulick/Blue Jazz

    I thought long and hard before I used the term protestant regarding the rugby players. I was responding to Stewart’s remark regarding catholic players in the NI team. Unionist would have been a better term. Is Tommy Bowe a prod? I personally have no idea and couldn’t care less either. As he is from the republic then it is unlikely that he is a unionist.

    As I have said before I would like the IFA to change the anthem to one that embraces all things Northern irish. GSTQ should only be used for the olympics and similar events. The IRFU predates both NI and ROI so the SS should not be used at matches. The SS should only be used for teams which are representing the ROI, like their football team. The Ireland rugby team does not belong solely to republicans, regardless what republicans believe.

    Why does the GAA insist on playing the SS at their games when they know that it will inalienate the people that they say that they are trying to reach out to. The same goes to the IFA as well regarding GSTQ. The IRFU have at least recognised that there are issues by playing a neutral anthem at away games. I long for the day when they neutralise the “home” games in Dublin by dropping the SS. Then unionist’s can sing the irish anthem with gusto…just like Tommy Bowe.