Sunday, May 14, 2006


GAA not inclusive?

I came across this ridiculous letter in the Belfast Telegraph from a George Beattie (Batty?) who takes exception to the idea that the GAA is an inclusive body:

"It was with some amusement that I read the letter from Tony Fearon (Writeback, May 5) comparing the Glentoran-Linfield Cup Final with the Down-Cavan GAA game.

"One comparison omitted by Mr Fearon is the fact that at Windsor Park the players would be comprised of both the Catholic and Protestant communities, whereas at Casement Park the entire spectacle would be an exclusively Catholic affair.

"For Mr Fearon to suggest that "the GAA has laid down a template for all sports to follow" is beyond belief.

"Or perhaps Mr Fearon is being sardonic? The GAA in Northern Ireland is the only sectarian sporting organisation in the world.

"It is a tribute to the Protestant/unionist community in Northern Ireland that they have not only tolerated this state of affairs, but indeed have funded this body through their rates and taxes.

"Like many from this tradition I have supported this approach in the hope that this body might break away from its sectarian shackles and become inclusive. To date there has been no sign of this.

"My advice to all sporting bodies is to use the GAA as a template of how not to run your organisation.

"All other sports are inclusive - and long may this remain."

George Beattie, Belfast

What a bunch of ignorant tripe this is. How can one argue that everyone who dons a GAA jersey is a Catholic? No atheists? No agnostics? No Protestants whatsoever?

It's always amusing to hear the GAA being criticised for not being inclusive enough when it was borne out of circumstances that required Gaelic culture to be preserved because of efforts from British planters to destroy it!

I do think the GAA can improve in certain areas but I feel it is inclusive. I posted over a week ago about English kids from different ethnic backgrounds coming together through Gaelic football.

If Mr Beattie wants an example of an organisation that is exclusive rather than inclusive he should look no further than the IFA which requires all NI players to have British passports rather than Irish passports. Real inclusive there, eh?

People like Mr Beattie need to wake up and realise that they are ignorant to the reality of the situation.

Unionists are excluding themselves by not taking up Gaelic games.


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