Northern Ireland news

Ulster GAA chief hits out at News Letter for lack of Tyrone's All-Ireland win coverage

Brian McAvoy has criticised the lack of coverage. Picture by Hugh Russell

ULSTER GAA chief executive Brian McAvoy has described a Belfast-based daily newspaper as "selective in their coverage of GAA affairs".

Mr McAvoy hit out at the News Letter for its lack of coverage of Tyrone's All-Ireland football success last year.

Writing in his annual report, Mr McAvoy commented that the "paper did not devote a single word of coverage to the All-Ireland final appearance or the tremendous victory by the O'Neill county" following the win in September.

He also asked if it was "a clear editorial policy of the paper? If so, why is this the case?".

In his report, Mr McAvoy said following the success by Tyrone, the team were "not only the pride of Northern Ireland but the pride of the entire island".

But he said that in the Monday edition of the newspaper following the game, the News Letter had 17 pages of sports coverage, yet nothing devoted to Tyrone's win.

"The featured sports included soccer, rugby, cricket, hockey, boxing, motorcycling (road racing), horse racing, and tennis and included (and rightly so) a back page photo of Emma Raducanu's amazing US Open tennis victory, achieved just hours after Tyrone's great triumph," he wrote.

"Several days after the All-Ireland final the ‘News Letter' ran a story quoting south Down MLA Jim Wells stating that it was not his place to congratulate Tyrone as he didn't represent the county.

"His party colleague and First Minister Paul Givan was among numerous political figures who had congratulated Tyrone on their success.

"At the end of October the newly appointed editor of the ‘News Letter' - he had been acting editor at the time of the All-Ireland final - in the course of a BBC interview said: 'We don't have a huge amount of interest or demand from our readers for GAA coverage'.

"The paper has covered other GAA stories and seems content to do so as long as their reporting does not extend to the coverage of games.

"It is clear that the paper is selective in their coverage of GAA affairs and I ask the question is this a clear editorial policy of the paper? If so, why is this the case?"

The Ulster GAA chief also said "it is totally accepted that the paper has a broad unionist outlook and this is a perfectly fine and legitimate position to hold".

"It does however have a strong rural and farming readership, with their excellent ‘Farming Life' Saturday supplement popular across all sectors of the industry.

"The GAA has a strong farming and rural membership.

"No one is asking for the paper to devote pages and pages of daily coverage to our games but surely it is not too much to ask for some recognition of our games, given their breadth and popularity across the north."

The News Letter was contacted last night for a response.

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