Northern Ireland

Antrim GAA chiefs ‘out of step’ over failure to circulate poster promoting Gaza ceasefire march

Gaels Against Genocide protest to take place in Belfast on Saturday

Tyrone players, past and present, are backing a weekend parade calling for a ceasefire in Gaza (Jason McCartan Photography)

The organisers of a peace parade for Gaza have voiced their disappointment after GAA chiefs in Antrim declined to circulate a poster to promote the event.

GAA members and supporters from across the north are expected to take part in the parade through Belfast city centre on Saturday calling for a ceasefire and adequate humanitarian aid to be provided in the region.

Earlier this week some of the biggest names in Gaelic games in the north gave their backing to the parade, which has been organised by Gaels against Genocide.

Established by grassroots GAA members, the group has previously called for an end to the Israeli military onslaught in Gaza.

Israeli soldiers operate inside the Gaza Strip (Ariel Schalit/AP)
Thousands of civilians have been killed in Gaza by Israeli forces (Ariel Schalit/AP)

Around 37,000 Palestinians have been killed in the region since last October.

Despite international pressure Israeli authorities have refused to call a permanent ceasefire.

Israel launched its operation after around 1,200 people were killed during a Hamas-led attack inside Israeli territory last October, during which around 200 hostages were taken.

The GAA and Gaelic Players Association have recently backed calls for a ceasefire on humanitarian grounds.

Michael Doherty, from Gale Against Genocide, said current and former players across several counties, along with musicians Christie Moore, Frances Black and Damien Dempsey have urged members of the public to attend this weekend’s parade.

However, Mr Doherty said the Antrim County Board has refused to circulate a poster promoting the event to clubs.

“This sadly is in sharp contrast to the attitude of the Antrim County Board who on several occasions refused our requests to forward our Poster for the Humanitarian March and Rally to all of the Antrim Clubs secretaries,” he said.

“Indeed, over the past 2 weeks they haven’t responded to any correspondence with our group.

“We believe that the massive turnout at this Saturdays March and Rally in Belfast will show how out of step the Antrim County Board are with grass roots Gaels in Antrim on the genocide that continues to take place in Gaza.”

Earlier this week some of Tyrone’s best known GAA figures, including Red Hand great Peter Canavan, wrote to club’s across the county backing the parade.

Antrim County Board was contacted.

Saturday’s parade will leave Writer’s Square at 2pm before travelling to Belfast City Hall.