GAA should campaign for united Ireland, says Joe Brolly

Posted By: March 05, 2019


Staff Reporter. Belfast Telegraph. Tuesday, March 5, 2019March 5 2019

GAA powerhouse Joe Brolly has suggested the sporting organization should abandon its political neutrality and campaign for a united Ireland.

Separately, former Armagh football captain Jarlath Burns has said the GAA should not remain neutral if there is to be a referendum on Irish unity.

Dungiven-born barrister and journalist Mr. Brolly told RTE Radio One that those involved in the GAA in Northern Ireland now fear they may be left isolated after Brexit.

“The GAA was founded on the basis of politics. It was to create a sense of identity. A 32-county community,” he said.

“The GAA is what sustained us throughout the Troubles.”

The outspoken pundit also hit out at the DUP, referring to its objections to same-sex marriage and the views expressed by its members about climate change.

Meanwhile, Mr Burns, the Armagh delegate on the Ulster Council of the GAA, told RTE Radio: “The interesting thing is there have been 36 referenda since the foundation of the state and while people got very emotionally involved with the last one, the termination of pregnancy one, the GAA has always steadfastly remained neutral.

“And in fact, it brought people in and made it very clear whenever they were using GAA grounds to promote one or other of the perspectives on that referendum.

“The interesting thing about a referendum on a border poll, the GAA wouldn’t be neutral.

“The GAA’s basic aim, it states the association is a national organization which has as its basic aim the strengthening of the national identity in a 32 county Ireland through the presentation and promotion of Gaelic Games.

“That doesn’t make us neutral on the issue of a border poll, it gives us a position on a border poll and a position that I as a GAA member in a border county would like to think that from a logical, as well as an ideological, perspective that the GAA would have a strong position on.”