Northern Ireland news

GAA chief Aogán Ó Fearghai rows back on flag and anthem remarks

GAA president Aogán Ó Fearghail. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin 
Staff Reporter

THE GAA's president has rowed back on remarks suggesting the association could reconsider the use of the tricolour and national anthem at matches.

Aogán Ó Fearghail last week said the flag and anthem "mean a lot to the GAA and will continue to do so", but added: "Who knows in the future?"

Speaking in Dubai on the GAA/GPA Football Allstars tour, he said such breaks of tradition could happen in an "agreed Ireland".

"We have to learn from our international units that we should never have closed minds about things that we always thought were precious and sacred," he said.

But speaking on RTÉ's Saturday Sport programme, Mr Ó Fearghail said his comments were "very much in the realms of speculation".

On the flag and Soldier's Song, he said: "They won't be scrapped, that is for sure."

Mr Ó Fearghail said he had been asked whether the GAA would change its position on flying the flag and playing the anthem at home.

"I replied we wouldn't, that it was very much part and parcel of our culture, it was very much valued by us and that it was a key part of our heritage and it will remain," he said.

"I did offer the opinion, that who knows what may happen in the future. We all aspire to, certainly within the GAA, to a new unified Ireland, it is something that we would welcome, it is something that we would be very happy to see happening.

"In those new political realities which hopefully will happen, who knows what may happen in the future? That was very much in the realms of speculation as to a new future."

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