Poots not welcome at GAA games

AS a GAA member I must protest at the presence of Stormont minister Edwin Poots at the recent Dr McKenna Cup football match between Donegal and Down in Newry.

Once more senior GAA officers are allowing the association’s grounds and facilities to be used to further the normalisation of British rule in Ireland.

Mr Poots used the occasion to make a public protest at the playing of Amhrán na bhFiann and also to object to the naming of GAA grounds, such as Casement Park in Belfast, in honour of Irish patriots.

While the GAA president was willing to welcome Mr Poots to Páirc Esler in Newry, he refused to meet Republican Sinn Féin (RSF) president Ruairí Ó Brádaigh at Páirc an Chrócaigh in February last year when a letter protesting at the presence of the England rugby team and the playing of the English national anthem there was handed in.

When the GAA dropped Rule 21 (which prohibited members of the British crown forces in Ireland from joining the GAA) in 2001, RSF warned that further demands would be made on the GAA in support of the campaign to normalise England’s occupation of Ireland. The intervening years have also seen the staging of games involving members of the British forces in Ireland. It now appears that the playing of the national anthem before GAA games in the Six Counties and the naming of our grounds in honour of Ireland’s patriot dead are the next symbols of Irish nationality to be erased.

It is only a matter of time before the flying of the national flag at GAA grounds in the Six Counties will give rise to objections.

The GAA — an association with deep cultural and historical significance for the Irish people — must not allow itself to be used in furtherance of an anti-national agenda which contradicts the principles, ethos and culture on which the association was founded.

Des Dalton

Leas Uachtarán

Republican Sinn Féin

Teach Dáithí Ó Conaill

223 Parnell Street

Dublin 1

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