Northern Ireland

Pro-Palestinian GAA group meets association president Jarlath Burns

Meeting comes as fans urged to fly Palestinian flag at this weekend’s Ulster final

Members of Gaels for Gaza with GAA president Jarlath Burns
Members of Gaels for Gaza with GAA president Jarlath Burns

Pro-Palestinian members of the GAA have met with association president Jarlath Burns over its stance on Palestine.

Gaels Against Genocide have been heavily involved in highlighting the plight of Palestinian civilians killed and displaced during Israel’s ongoing operation in the region.

The meeting with Mr Burns came just weeks after the association’s leadership in Ulster was accused of “censorship” after a traditional music band due to play at an Ulster championship clash between Derry and Donegal was forced to withdraw due to its support for Palestine.

The group was contacted ahead of last month’s game by a senior Ulster Council official who insisted it could not play under the name Saoirse don Phalaistín, which means Freedom for Palestine.

Celtic fans in the stands hold up flags of Palestine (Andrew Milligan/PA)
GAA fans are being urged to raise the Palestinian flag in Croke Park during Sunday's Ulster final

More than 34,000 Palestinians, including thousands of women and children, have been killed by Israeli forces since last October.

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

Fresh humanitarian concerns have recently been raised over plans by Israel to attack the Palestinian city of Rafah.

Fans intending to attend this Sunday’s Ulster final between Armagh and Donegal are being urged to bring Palestinian flags in a show of solidarity.

Michael Doherty, from Gaels Against Genocide, said that during the meeting, which he described as “a very positive engagement”, GAA officials confirmed there is “no ban” on supporters bringing Palestinian flags to matches.

Mr Doherty said campaigners pushed the need for the GAA to demand an immediate ceasefire in Gaza adding that the group also raised the prospect of Palestinians being involved in carrying the All-Ireland hurling and football trophies onto Croke Park on All-Ireland final day.

The GAA was contacted.