Story of Peadar Heffron’s ostracisation should mark a turning point for NI and the GAA…

Taking in the air of the men’s changing rooms in 1980s Dungiven gives a man some perspective, and nobody could have written up that interview with Peadar Heffron quite like Joe Brolly.

The story that Brolly had to tell was, of course, that of his interviewee but it came with an authenticity that was as much to do with Brolly’s own lived experience as it was to do with his skill in setting out a narrative. He didn’t have to imagine.

Somehow the reaction was predictable and fascinating at the same time.

Most of the northern GAA grassroots, of course, condemn the Heffron attack and disagree with his ousting from his club, but read some of their comments and be forgiven for thinking it took place in the deep midwinter of the Troubles rather than as recently as 2010.

I can understand why he was ostracised, some of them say, a lot of people would have felt the same. At that time. Maybe not so much now. Times have changed.

I don’t agree with anyone getting hurt, they say, but at the end of the day, Peadar was naïve thinking he could just join the PSNI and that everyone would accept it. Back then.

Brolly resisted attempts by others to set the club apart. Those were ordinary people who so cruelly ostracised Heffron from his boyhood club. Those were ‘people like us’ who so callously abandoned Heffron not just at the time of his joining the PSNI but even after the hamstrings and glutes they showered beside for years were torn from his body.

Heffron’s club is not a social outlier in the north, even if other clubs like Beragh Red Knights have distinguished themselves. Five of the six counties had voted in favour of banning the PSNI just months before Heffron joined.

Shunning him would have had constitutional legitimacy had the southern counties (and Down) not had the foresight now accepted by most northerners only in hindsight.

For many life-long northern GAA folk this story is the mirror of their earlier selves they may prefer not to look into.

This story is as much catalytic as it is reflective. It creates a change in attitudes as much as it illustrates a change that has gone before. You cannot read a story as powerful as Heffron’s, so powerfully written, and not be moved.

“The snow and ice had staunched the haemorrhaging as he lay on the road, keeping him alive until the ambulance appeared. But now the blood was pumping out; 140 units (a unit is roughly a pint) were transfused into him. It went in one end and out the other.”

We’re only now learning of the detail of the attack and only now has Peadar given voice to the savagery of it. Only now are the shockwaves hitting the shore, seven years after the event and after seven years of more holes appearing in the old defensive walls.

What might in the past have been blocked by the old equivocation ‘terrible things happen in war’ has now begun soaking into the community conscience. ‘Back then’, Ronan Kerr was still running around in O’Neill’s shorts and the only traitors to Ireland were those who lay neatly in bogs.

It has always taken the blood sacrifice of one’s own to change opinion in Ireland. Change for good, change for bad, change whatever. It is the Irish disease. Heffron is the latest in a long line of Irishmen whose spilt blood has been the fuel for a shift in attitudes.

The majority in the GAA may not have actively advanced the ex-communication of young police officers from clubs, but how many would have stood back in similar circumstances and let it happen?

How many would have accepted it as the way things were, ‘understood’ it, tolerated it, not got involved and thereby involved themselves by omission – lent it the force of silence? More than would now let on, and certainly, more than would let it happen now. The image of Heffron’s blood has seen to that.

Some will point out that there is still some road to travel. There is a distinction, of course, between Heffron’s forced exiling on the one hand and the placing of explosives under his seat on the other.

But many did not see that there is a direct line between the two. Fewer still, even today, will see that an organisation that roots itself symbolically in physical force republicanism will continue to send some mixed messages to its young people.

O’Donovan Rossa was ‘back then’. Sam Maguire and Roger Casement, later, were ‘back then’. Sean South, though later again, another man’s ‘back then’. Kevin Lynch? Was he back then?

Maybe these naming rights are nobody else’s business. Maybe outsiders can like it or lump it. Fine, as long we all understand that there are more passive means of exclusion than the boycott Heffron experienced and that they work just as well.

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  • Spike

    The Heffron attack was despicable in the extreme and is rightly condemned by the GAA community and also by the club Mr Heffron was originally aligned to. My feeling is that by attacking the club itself, Joe has therefore attacked the local community. Sources (easily searched), describe Joe’s article of taking advantage of a bitter man (Heffron alludes to this himself) and sensationalising a horrible attack into one about the GAA with no context and no balancing of facts of the case eg Mr Heffron was playing astroturf soccer in the club grounds with friends and GAA colleagues right up the attack for one..
    When a story is written in such a one sided manner with no context to the early 2000’s and rule 21, psni and post good Friday elements all fresh, new and unknown, then it takes away from what should / could have been a piece on how reconciliation may have taken place in a modern context.
    Al this article seems to have done has hardened unionist suspicions regarding the GAA, and had rural GAA communities (of which the club is the centre of) circling the wagons of which the result is even less chance of PSNI recruits from these areas, and resentment towards the article which adds another barrier to mr heffron’s reintegration (whether both sides want it now or not).
    Football & Sports clubs are not recruitment agencies whether it be for PSNI, NHS, Ulster Bank or the DOE. It is a conundrum the PSNI needs to sort out quickly before representation falls even further.

  • PeterBrown

    Another slow starter post and kudos to Spike for at least having the courage to poke his head above the parapet and starting us off…

    Heffron is a bitter man – but the question is why is he bitter.

    There was no balancing of the facts becase the club has dilly dallied for a week and then years after the attack condemned it whilst not denying any of the specific allegations he made – that he was handed dissident republican propaganda in the changing room, effectively a veiled death threat, and that those who visited him after the attack felt the need to clarify that there were not an official deputation. If any publically funded unionist organisation had behavedlike this there would have been an outcry and hundreds of comments on here – the silence is like the Enniskillen thread – deafening.

    Playing with friends in a private capacity on the club’s facilities is hardly contrary to what he said about being ostracised in the changing room. There was no reconiliation because there were members of the club who were not interested in reconciliation and made that clear to him and at worst this was implicitly condoned by the club’s inaction and at best they stood by and let it happen. yet this is all the PSNI’s fault and the GAA in general and this club in particular are the vicitms here? Seriously?

  • Spike

    The Club are certainly not the victims here but most certainly were ill-prepared to deal with the political ramifications of the PSNI recruitment at that time. Every sports team has a range of individual viewpoints and a range of people who are more vocal than others. I cant imagine that even the most hardened unionist would believe that at that juncture in time, the entire nationalist populace would simply press ‘reset’ and be happy that someone they knew was joining up. The process was set, friendships lost at that time.
    Fast forward to 2017 and the same attitudes would not prevail. The Ronan Kerr situation proved that. but Ronan had not been through the initial raw pioneer process that Peadar had been through

  • sparrow

    I’ve never liked Gaelic games and I’ve never liked the GAA (at least, not in the north of Ireland at any rate – it may be different down south), so I’m probably the wrong type of nationalist to comment on this. To me it’s a backward, bigoted, rural organisation. Peadar Heffron’s interview probably just confirmed for me a lot of my own prejudices. I knew a lad back in the 1980s who was a talented Gaelic footballer. He had to give up playing the sport after he started receiving threats before, during and after games. On one occasion, he was physically assaulted in a car park after a match. Word had got around that his brother had joined the RUC. Different times, you might say, but Peadar’s horrendous experience shows that many in the GAA haven’t moved one inch. Credit to Joe Brolly for dragging this story out into the light.

  • The Saint

    Terrible incident, it’s an uncomfortable relationship between GAA and what is seen as crown forces. The issue is we must have a cross community buy in to the PSNI to have appropriate law and order.

    The issue while no longer official GAA stance of barring the PSNI would appear to be cultural in some of its members, as stated above “5 of the 6 northern counties”.

    While Peadar is justified to be bitter. Bitterness does not assist breaking that cultural barrier. As shown by the respective lurch to the political poles in NI.

    Trolls that fail to condemn the act or aftermath cannot be controlled but I don’t see how the GAA recognising national heroes is an issue here. Breaking down cultural suspicion of both is key. Having kids in schools in NI where both GAA and PSNI visit frequently, both organizations could gain alot of mutual understanding with some sort of joint outreach programme.

    Community understanding and charchter building is mutual ground for both.

  • PeterBrown

    But even if there were errant individuals within the club legally and morally it is the resposnibility of the club to ensure that the party / GAA line is toed.
    The club had a choice here, move on with the rest of the GAA, stay stuck in the Rule 21 past or sit on their hands – at best the did the latter at worst they were the second and cannot claim they did the right thing which was the first option.
    Remember this was 2002 not 1998 and the attack was 2010 and there were still at best qualified in their support by way of contrast with Tyrone in 2011 were the Kerr family received unqualifed support from club (if not county).
    We’re getting there slowly wait for us to catch up is not an excuse….

  • Spike

    It may not be a proper excuse but in 2002 the greater nationalist community didn’t even know how to take the new PSNI never mind a football club. The club had no training or instructions or PR person showing them what to do with a range of diverse opinions on the subject within the club.. It was just ‘there you go.’. Being a pioneer is never easy, as Peadar has showed, but people like him bore the brunt and made it easier for the people that followed.

  • The Saint

    My experience of the GAA completely different we had several protestants on team that mucked in to a greater degree certainly than myself. Never friction that I picked up on and that was late 80s a bit of banter bout Sunday church or bible study v the confirmation fund collections that kinda jazz.

  • whatif1984true

    The GAA is at best considered as a cultural and societal problem. in the same way that those who put up sectarian flags in a mixed housing development will say NO ONE complains then the GAA in its atitude to bigotry/PSNI is accepted by the majority of members . It is the silence of those members that condemns them and the wringing of hands and the attitude “what can I do” as an excuse to ignore the throwback atitudes of the GAA ‘culture’.
    Genuinely can any member say that EVERYONE is welcome and will feel comfortable in the GAA, if not then they should not be members. Its simple.

  • Oriel27

    I dont trust that Joe Brolly guy one bit. He is an attention seeking,mouth piece. I do believe he is secretly building a wider profile across the island so he can go for president of Ireland.
    His story in the Irish Independent last Sunday was completely one sided.
    Why is raking up the past when there was no need to? Why has it taken over 10 years for this incident to get attention?
    Its damn all to do with the club that that poor unfortunate guy, Mr Heffron got attacked. He got attacked by scumbags that don’t represent the community & have no mandate. But that was back then. things have moved on since.
    If anything, its another stick for unionists to beat nationalists with.

  • PeterBrown

    “Why is raking up the past when there was no need to? Why has it taken over 10 years for this incident to get attention? But that was back then. things have moved on since.
    If anything, its another stick for unionists to beat nationalists with.”

    Seriously do nationalists do irony at all?

  • Spike

    Joe is looking to get out of his RTE bubble and become more mainstream. He wanted a reaction from his piece and got it. Has he set back PSNI recruitment from nationalist areas.? undoubtedly. Has he further alienated Mr Heffron further from his community.? Of course. Has he refocused loyalist eyes back onto the GAA clubs?. definitely. The only person or association who has came out of this with any benefit is Joe.

  • Oriel27

    Great analysis. I completely despise him. Who gave him the entitlement in talking on behalf of the nationalist community ?. Self appointed and self serving.

  • babyface finlayson

    Why is Joe Brolly to be blamed for setting back recruitment?
    Surely it is those who attacked Peadar Heffron and those in the GAA who ostracised him that should be blamed!

  • Skibo

    Imagine a Unionist organisation condemning politicians for attending the funeral of a police officer. That is unless it was a Catholic Police officer and the politicians were members of the Orange Order. Your memory must be clouded.

  • PeterBrown

    Now again let’s be accurate – one lodge made a complaint which the Orange order dismissed, perhaps it is your memory that is clouded?

  • Skibo

    It’s still an OO rule isn’t it?
    What about Ian’s implied threat to the police when Drumcree was at its height, remember where you live!

  • Skibo

    Need to remember that Peadar joined up a short few years after the GFA and the dropping of rule 21. Peadar was a pioneer. As for the GAA, it is much easier for people like you to sit outside and complain that get involved and change from within.

  • sparrow

    I’ll leave it to people who actually enjoy gaelic games to join up and do the changing.

  • Skibo

    Then do not expect it to change. There are people who are trying to change it and with the more acceptable view of the PSNI, that is happening.
    The one interesting thing I read in Peadar’s story is when he went to police training it was not the new beginning that he thought it was.
    I believe it was the actions of people like Peadar who helped the impression of the police in the Nationalist community.

  • Aodh Morrison

    Shooting the messenger plays better for some than targeting the woolly-faced lads.

  • Jeff

    Agree peter jaw dropping in its blindness

  • james

    Indeed. How dare he criticize the GAA!

  • Aodh Morrison

    Wow! The “one” thing you found “interesting” was not a young man maimed, or his sporting friends shunning him, or people allowed inside a sporting club’s changing room to hand out a written warning about joining the police, no, it was that self same young man’s first impressions on meeting people from outside his social circle.

    Astonishing.

    Didn’t you realise that the “new beginning” to policing involved more than young Catholic men and women joining? Perhaps you thought ‘50/50’ meant 50% Catholic men and 50% Catholic women?

    In actual fact Prods were allowed in as well. Goodness gracious even ex soldiers and former RUC reservists could gain entry as long as they made the grade.

    Perhaps you share a sense of shock that there are other communities out there with different life experiences and attitudes – and that they are in the police and in many other occupations as well.

  • Skibo

    I didn’t mean my comment the way you took it. Peadar thought that policing had changed. His mates in the GAA didn’t agree. He went on with it and he found that it hadn’t changed but he went on and tried to make the difference.
    Your comments are crass and just plain stupid. The attitude of his fellow recruits was not what he had expected from a new attitude to policing.

  • PeterBrown

    Of course it was wrong for Peadar to join the PSNI and change it from within and wrong for Sparrow to sit outside and complain – do you do irony at all Skibo?

  • PeterBrown

    But you still lied about it didn’t you?

  • Croiteir

    The people who were or indeed still are members were quite right. and I see no reason whatsoever to have anything to do with that organisation called the PSNI. It is a loathsome organisation which should have no support whatsoever from any right thinking person.

  • Skibo

    Where did I say Peadar was wrong to try and change it? I said he was a pioneer. I suggested Sparrow should do the same and change for the good from within rather than sit outside and complain. Not irony, common sense Pete.

  • Skibo

    Sorry, lied about what? One lodge or was it two? There still was a hearing. Incidentally, were the two politicians guilty of breaking a rule of the OO or not?

  • Mimi Balguerie

    Who is going to want to have anything to do with the PSNI if it is going to bring the same kind of media and political attention on their club that has been unfairly brought on the club in this case?

    Brolly could have left this after the initial interview, but he couldn’t help himself; he had to go after the club. I’m with Spike on this one; in doing so, the only thing he isn’t doing harm to is his own career.

  • PeterBrown

    Because one man can change the GAA? That’s what Peadar thought and instead the GAA changed him

  • PeterBrown

    You said it was the organisation (the Order) not a part of it (the lodge) – that was simply untrue

  • PeterBrown

    “he found that it hadn’t changed”

    I read the article and all I read was that there were no other GAA recruits on his intake which must have been 50-50 in make up – where does it say hadn’t changed or are you just making that up?

  • Spike

    Because he has decided to create a story when there was none by writing a completely one sided, out of context, sensationalist piece. The horrific injuries suffered by Peadar dont excuse the absence of holes in the story. Some further digging will also reveal the psni’s less than impressive reaction to Peadar’s incident and how appaulingly they treated him afterwards. But perhaps that wont sell as many papers as good a story of GAA bashing. Either way, the fallout from the story will affect rural nationalists from going forward to join.

    Brolly actually wrote two articles on this piece.but im guessing some posters here are only referring to the first one.

  • Zig70

    Folk need to understand that the GAA especially at a local level is a volunteer based amateur organization that gives a huge amount to the community. What happened to Paedar reflects badly but expecting the GAA to have answers to our situation is a bit of a leap.

  • Starviking

    His club should have answers.

  • Starviking

    Not everyone is a sporty type. It is unreasonable to suggest people who have a negative opinion of the GAA have to join to make changes.

  • T.E.Lawrence

    Are you on the razzle again at this time of the night writing such shitx ? What an embarrassing statement !

  • james

    Expecting the GAA to have a sense of responsibility for the disgraceful thuggish behaviour of quite a few of those associated with it is….a bit of a leap??

  • james

    Frankly, the behaviour described in the article above makes the GAA sound rather ” a loathsome organisation”

  • Zig70

    We can all sit here at our keyboards and pretend we have great legal minds like Brolly. Black is black and white is white. But the truth is we don’t know what went on, how obvious it was and likely the team management are part time volunteers that were completely unprepared for this turn of events. I’ve been involved with coaching and missed bullying and other incidents. It’s a different thing afk. Blokes in a sporting field rarely communicate on any honest emotional level.

  • Zig70

    If everything was as black and white as Brolly paints and the club had all the resources it needed then yes. But then that’s not my experience with running amateur sports.

  • Zig70

    part of the problem is the abuse the GAA gets from the unionist community for being a culturally Irish sport.

  • Aodh Morrison

    You post, “I didn’t mean my comment the way you took it.”, then go on to say “The attitude of his fellow recruits was not what he had expected from a new attitude to policing.”. You first challenge, then make my point.

    I read the original article. In it Peadar Heffron is quoted as saying, “I felt a fish out of water”, “even the accents were different”. Where did you ascertain that he experienced an ‘attitude’ that he was not expecting (where the word ‘attitude’ is used in a pajorative way)?

    The only reference to his fellow recruits was about their backgrounds and how they were different to his own; some were ex RUC Reserve, ex Army, and even former bank workers.

    Having read the article and then your post it was clear that you made the leap from the backgrounds of some of his fellow recruits (the ex police and soldiers not so much the ex bank officials I suppose) to assigning them a less than ‘proper’ “attitude” to a “new attitude to policing”.

    If however you are taking your evidence about an unsavoury “attitude” from elsewhere then make that clear and I’ll consider its relevance to the points I have made.

  • Aodh Morrison

    part of the problem is the abuse the PSNI gets from the nationalist community for being a Northern Ireland service.

  • babyface finlayson

    Supposing the Irish News published a story about a Catholic member of the PSNI suffering verbal abuse or ostracisation from their colleagues
    Would you criticise them for publishing it because it might deter other Catholics from joining?
    Bizarre logic.

  • Croiteir

    But only part – and a very small part

  • Croiteir

    Doesn’t embarrass me – should embarrass the police that a sizable amount of people have this view

  • WindsorRocker

    After all the Patten reforms, the fact that people STILL have that view says more about them than the police.

  • Spike

    The bizarre thing is that you obviously haven’t read Joe’s follow up article to this story, have completely disregarded Peadar’s subsequent battle within the PSNI and ignored the press releases regarding the questionable investigation carried out by Peadar’s colleagues to his incident.
    Besides all that, one of the basis for the piece was nationalists joining the PSNI…….this article will not do that and will only deter people further. It has hardened attitudes which is the opposite to what the PSNI want.

  • Jim M

    It could have been a better interview, what with the shared GAA passion, but Brolly’s too much of an abrasive mouthpiece. Heffron has every reason to feel the way he does, but a better interviewer and/or writer could have teased things out more.

  • james

    I think a big part of the problem is the GAA being run along sectarian lines – and this weird insistence that nobody criticize it for its many failings. The endemic racism of its supporters, for example.

  • james

    You seem to be suggesting they should turn a blind eye to it, because they aren’t able to deal with it, and we should stop talking about it. Am I reading you right?

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    True, but I think it’s a good idea; if every bandsman and orangeman in Co Antrim joined the GAA it could bring about a great deal of change.

    Imagine Jim Allister as county secretary or voting to fly the ‘national’ flag at Casement Park?

    Could be hilarious too…

  • john millar

    “The people who were or indeed still are members were quite right. and I see no “reason whatsoever to have anything to do with that organisation called the PSNI. It is a loathsome organisation which should have no support whatsoever from any right thinking person.”

    I see no reason whatsoever to have anything to do with that organisation called the GAA It is a loathsome organisation based on an Irish Republican ethos which should have no support whatsoever from any right thinking person.”

  • babyface finlayson

    Surely the blame for the negative attention lies with those who caused it, namely the people within the club who were ostracising Heffron.
    You and Spike seem to be working hard to deflect criticism from where it should be aimed.
    Victim blaming some might call it.

  • Skibo

    I listened to the original report on a radio and heard him saying it hadn’t changed. I have since checked for it in writing and cannot find it. I withdraw the accusation.

  • Skibo

    See above.

  • Spike

    Where on this page has anyone accused Peadar Heffron of anything? Again….seeing what you want to see.

  • PeterBrown

    And no danger of the GAA doing the reverse ;-p

  • Trasna

    Credit to Joe Brolly, are you sure about that? Brolly is a barrister and has spent his career defending parlimentaries.

  • Trasna

    The GAA was founded in 1884, few Protestants had any interest in it then, 134 years later, they still have little interest in it. Meanwhile, the Irish play all sports. Ask youself why one side of the community engage with all sports and the other hasn’t since 1884.

  • Trasna

    Irish republicianism is a very fine tradition.

  • Trasna

    Why? Peadar joined knowing his community wouldn’t like it but he joined anyway.

  • james

    Uhm…I dunno…….perhaps because the GAA was an avowedly anti-Protestant organization with the goal of promoting Irish cultural supremacy?

    Or perhaps because it’s just one of those sports, like Kabaddi, that is sort of popular in one place, but largely unknown/ignored elsewhere?

    Or maybe you’re right, and the Irish is just ‘better’ than every other nationality in the world?

    Don’t know. Don’t care much, either.

  • Zig70

    Certainly not. I’m saying some folk seem to be presuming they knew exactly what was going on and what should be done about it and the truth is probably less news worthy. Others just have an anti gaa bias which runs deep in NI society. All this detracts from the real horror of the bombers.

  • Zig70

    Examples? You can join if you like.

  • Croiteir

    The Patten reforms have not been implimented

  • babyface finlayson

    Did Joe Brolly trick Peadar Heffron into that interview? Has Peadar Heffron disowned it.
    How can you have a go at the guy who wrote down the words but not the guy who said them?
    Once again, do you think it possible that some blame might fall on the people in the club who ostracised him or not?
    Everyone is to blame except the idiots who caused the problem!

  • Spike

    Because the guy writing the story sets the narrative and positions the piece. No one would read it if it was just a transcript of an interview.

    Peadar heffron is a bitter man (says so himself) – id be too if i had his injuries i suspect

    The club is a collection of individual opinions as in any amateur association. If you did some research you’d find out some supported him and others didnt ( natural but joe didnt write this into his story).

    Bottom line is joe has made situation for nationalist recruitment and scuppered any reconciliation.

    No doubt Peadar will appreciate all the internet back slapping as he sits alone in north down. Ill reiterate, a better piece would have been joe helping Peadar reintegrate – would have been more helpful and a real feel good article for all.

    Be sure to read his 2nd follow up article if its not too uncomfortable reading.

  • james

    No, thank you. Boxing is my sport of choice. If I’m honest, I don’t actually even know the rules of Gaelic footie.

    To be really honest, though, and speaking as a Fermanagher I’d be surprised if Protestants played or attended in any great numbers due to the weird fawning tributes the GAA seems to lavish on IRA terrorists – what with the IRA being an organization dedicated to the ethnic cleansing of Protestants from the border areas.

  • babyface finlayson

    So once again I ask, can you bring yourself to lay any blame at the feet of the ones who did not support him but chose to ostracise him.?
    Do you think their behaviour might have some effect on other nationalists thinking of joining the PSNI?

  • Spike

    Its like talking to a child. Again seeing what u want to see and ignoring all other commentary Read my earlier posts and the answers are all there. The GAA club didnt attack PH, the club members are a mixed group of opinions and there is no club policy of either promoting or degrading the psni. Its not the job of a GAA, rugby or soccer club to recruit for the psni.

    Now what are your opinions on Joes other articles?

  • babyface finlayson

    Come on Spike, the ones who ostracised him, the ones who gave him no support. Can you bring yourself to criticise them?

  • Spike

    Some gave him support, some didnt (thats their conscience). Who am i to judge people in 2002 who had a problem with the new psni? None planted a bomb.

    Holes throughout the article….but you dont want to hear that, you dont even want to explore any further as it doesnt suit your narrative.

  • babyface finlayson

    That’s it? You don’t think his treatment at their hands might have deterred others from joinng the PSNI?
    You had no problem judging Joe Brolly.

  • Spike

    No, a dissident bomb will deter people from joining up.

    Silence from u on the other matters.

  • babyface finlayson

    Yes a dissident bomb would do it.
    According to you an article such as that written by Joe Brolly would also do it.
    Might the ostracisation of an individual by members of his club also do it?

  • Spike

    Not really unless you were totally ignorant of nationalist communities in 2002. Were you?

  • babyface finlayson

    Ok I don’t follow your logic at all I’m afraid.
    Peadar Heffron was in your words a pioneer who bore the brunt and made it easier for people who followed.
    Yet you don’t think that the treatment he received from members of the GAA might have had any influence on others thinking of joining the PSNI? No impact at all?

  • Spike

    None moreso than the general nationalist public. Im sure you can empathise and appreciate why in 2002 nationalists were still wary of the psni whether they played football or not.

  • Zig70

    See, that is exactly what I mean, lazy equivocation between GAA and IRA. As sensible as linking the UVF and rugby. I’m not necessarily comfortable with the 1 or 2 clubs that mix politics. As you allude to, you haven’t a notion about the reality of GAA otherwise you wouldn’t make these extremely insulting comments

  • Hugh Davison

    Why do parlimentaries need defending?

  • james

    ‘See, that is exactly what I mean, lazy equivocation between GAA and IRA.”

    I certainly didn’t say the GAA *are* the IRA – I am pointing out their disgraceful penchant for naming various stadia, trophies and competitions after terrorists and murderers.

    ” As sensible as linking the UVF and rugby.”

    Bizarre. I can’t think of any rugby team naming their cups or stadia after Loyalist terrorists. Please provide examples.

    “I’m not necessarily comfortable with the 1 or 2 clubs that mix politics.”

    Do you condemn it? Or are you happy to hide behind this spineless disclaimer. And it is many more than ‘1 or 2′

    I’m confused – are you insulted by the terrorists’ names that the GAA delight in naming their venues in honour of, or of me pointing it out?

  • Ian Rate

    I suppose any organisation that is an “avowedly anti-the other with the goal of promoting their cultural supremacy” should be called into question and needs to reflect.

  • babyface finlayson

    That is not in dispute.It would have taken some bravery to join the PSNI at that time I am sure you would agree.
    But supposing a young nationalist was considering joining up at that time. Looking at how Heffron was treated would hardly have given them courage to go ahead.
    On the other hand if they had seen him still being welcome and respected in his club they might have said ‘well it is not easy but if Peadar can do it…’
    Anyway having asked you a number of times it is clear enough you cannot or will not criticise the GAA so we may is well leave it.
    Cheers.

  • Zig70

    The only club I know of is Kevin Lynch GAA, which is a renamed part of the club, convicted for stealing shotguns but the club maintain it was named for his sporting achievements. If you are taking people like Casement then they wouldn’t be considered terrorists and your Queen laid a wreath to them. There are plenty of rugby grounds with memorials to British armed forces if we need to try hard to find offence at everything.

  • james
  • Spike

    Offence is easily found if people want to look for it. For people who simply cannot see the other sides perspective, then everything is an offence and every detail is latched on to. Next time im in Windsor Park i must remember to be offended by the name of the place. Whats the name of that big hospital in belfast? Mental note for next time im sick.

  • Trasna

    How was the GAA anti-Protestant? It, along with the Gaelic League was set up to preserve what was left of Irish culture after the mass genocide that was the famine and the continuing ethic cleansing of the Irish people up to independence. Millions of people lost and not a word of condemnation from the Protestant population.

    What’s wrong with Irish cultural supremacy in a place called Ireland? It’s only natural afterall.

    But I totally agree with you, the Irish are indeed a superior people.

  • Trasna

    He knew he would be ostracized when he joined, yet he joined all the same.

  • Trasna

    And the fact he was denied compensation by the Criminal Injuries Board because he wasn’t actually at work at the time.

  • babyface finlayson

    That hardly excuses the behaviour of those who ostracised him does it?
    Any criticism of them at all?

  • james

    “The Irish are indeed a superior people.” – Trasna

    Lucky we aren’t stuck in a country with you, then. Us being an inferior caste and all.

  • Starviking

    Did he poll his entire community?

  • Starviking

    I was using “club” as a social organisation, not just referring to the management. Sorry for the ambiguous nature of my post.

    That said, knowing how gossip goes around clubs, I’d be surprised if no one in a position of social authority had heard of him being cut from matches, or republican activists campaigning against him in his own club.

  • Starviking

    They certainly had the SU at QUB a pretty mono-cultural organisation when I was there in the late 80s, early 90s.

  • RWP

    Agree, he was playing soccer so basically asking to be mutilated. How naive of him to think otherwise.