GAA teams reject Confederate flag

Senior personnel associated with the Cork senior county camogie and men’s football teams have written a letter to the editor of the Irish Examiner praising the decision of the Cork GAA County board to condemn the use of the Confederate flag.

“We warmly welcome the outright condemnation by the executive of Cork GAA County Board of the use of the Confederate flag and the executive’s request to Cork supporters to refrain from flying the flag in all GAA stadia,” they wrote.

The use of the flag by some Cork fans on Hill 16 in Croke Park last Sunday when Waterford defeated Cork in the All-Ireland hurling semi-final sparked public outrage.

The day before at a far-right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in the US, a woman was killed, and about 30 injured when a car ploughed through protesters.

The letter to the editor was signed by Rena Buckley, Cork camogie captain, Paudie Murray, Cork camogie manager, Peadar Healy, Cork men’s football manager and Paul Kerrigan, Cork men’s football captain.

They also welcomed the recent decision of Cork County Council to confiscate a Confederate flag from flying from a public utility in Charleville, Co Cork.

“The Confederate flag remains a potent symbol of oppression and subjugation of African American women and men by white supremacists and, as a consequence, has no place in our national games,” they wrote.

“The GAA in Cork, and elsewhere had a distinguished place in the country’s social and cultural life of this country, and a divisive and racist symbol did not belong there. Nothing justifies the presence of the Confederate flag at our games. We commend the County Board for its stance.”

Mr Murray said the Confederate flag had been used by fans at matches for as long as he had been going to them — about 30 years.

“We have our own colours, and we should use them. I actually do not think the guys who have been using the Confederate flag know what it represents or that it offends anyone,” he said.

Cork take on Galway in the All-Ireland Camogie Senior semi-final in the Gaelic Grounds, Limerick, this evening. “I have a big match tomorrow [Sat], and that’s all that is in my head right now,” said Mr Murray.

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