Unionists question GAA over 'inclusion'

By Peter Winter

Reporter:

By Peter Winter

Email:

peter.winter@thechronicle.uk.com

Top GAA officials have attempted to reassure local unionists over the organisation's “32 county” ethos.

During a presentation to Causeway Coast and Glens Council last week, members heard the GAA was “open and welcoming to everyone” regardless of gender community, and religious background.

When they arrived at Cloonavin on Tuesday, Ulster Unionist William McCandless was among those demanding answers.

Mr McCandless said he was impressed by what he'd heard and he accepted Protestants were welcome at GAA clubs.

“It does unfortunately appear that unionist aren't welcome,” he said.

In response Brian McAvoy, the GAA's Chief Executive Officer and Provincial Secretary pointed out the rules were written when the GAA was founded in 1884, before partition and after a period of great turmoil in Ireland.

“The feeling was there was a danger that the old traditions and pastimes would be lost.”

He assured Mr McCandless on cross-community outreach, pointing out that the Queen had visited the sports HQ at Croke Park and the stadium was now regularly used for rugby and soccer games.

*Read full reaction to this story inside this week's Chronicle.

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