Northern Ireland

Victims group calls on Ulster GAA to 're-examine its code of conduct' following meeting

SEFF representatives met with figures from the Ulster GAA
SEFF representatives met with figures from the Ulster GAA SEFF representatives met with figures from the Ulster GAA

A VICTIMS group has called on the Ulster GAA to "re-examine its code of conduct" around erecting memorials to the Provisional IRA within gaelic clubs or community facilities.

It came after members of South East Fermanagh Foundation (SEFF) held discussions with representatives of Ulster GAA on Saturday, which included chief executive Brian McAvoy.

Kenny Donaldson from SEFF said it was a "constructive meeting" in which they "made clear to them that we are not GAA haters or bashers".

He said they acknowledged the "positive contribution Gaelic games makes within society".

But he said they expressed "concerns at behaviours which have been present within the games including; the enabling of memorials to be erected within gaelic clubs or associated community facilities where players are supposedly being remembered but where they are not remembered simply as Gaels but rather as members of The Provisional IRA".

Just last year Clonoe O’Rahilly’s GAC in Co Tyrone faced criticism for unveiling a memorial to three former players who had been IRA members and who were killed during the Troubles.

The event was attended by Sinn Fein’s Michelle O’Neill, who is from Clonoe.

Sinn Féin’s Michelle O’Neill attended the event in Clonoe in February 2022
Sinn Féin’s Michelle O’Neill attended the event in Clonoe in February 2022 Sinn Féin’s Michelle O’Neill attended the event in Clonoe in February 2022

Speaking after the meeting on Saturday, Mr Donaldson said the GAA needed to "re-examine" these issues within its clubs.

"There has also been a series of occasions where clubs, but also sections of fans have been found to have engaged in pro-terror chants which are highly offensive to those impacted by Provisional IRA violence and there also remains a series of clubs and trophies named after terrorists who were guilty of crimes against their own neighbors," he said.

Mr Donaldson added: "We requested that the GAA would re-examine its code of conduct around these issues for clubs but also for those attending games and that there would exist a willingness to sanction those who engage in behaviour which falls beneath that behaviour code".

"There can be no justification or space given for the promotion or facilitation of terrorism, nor anything which seeks to diminish the impact of violence within this society," he said.

"We trust that the GAA will wish to partner with us in this journey and will wish to lead by example."

He said that discussions have taken place or are in the process of being organised with other organisations and institutions, including the Scottish Roman Catholic Church, Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland and the bands community as "there are issues which each of these entities need to address".

Ulster GAA has been contacted for comment.