GAA star vows to continue supporting the pro-life campaign
A Gaelic football star has vowed to continue campaigning for a No vote in the referendum to repeal the Eighth Amendment, even as the GAA insisted it is a non-political organisation.
Antrim footballer Patrick Gallagher was among those to join the group of GAA Athletes for a No Vote at its launch over the weekend.
He said he believed the GAA's "spirit of inclusion in society" should be extended to unborn babies.
Over the weekend, the GAA wrote to the secretaries of the 32 counties telling them it is an organisation that should have no political involvement.
In a statement yesterday it reiterated this position, but said individual members may decide to take positions on political issues.
"The GAA shouldn't be political, counties and clubs shouldn't be involved, the association shouldn't have a position," Mr Gallagher said.
"I don't feel that is applicable to us because we are a group of members coming together with similar views."
He said they were acting as private individuals who are connected by the fact they are GAA players.
"I've always been strongly pro-life," he said. "To get involved in this campaign specifically, I was talking to a few people involved with the different campaigns for No.
"And we speak about how the GAA has community spirit and inclusion and we really feel that this inclusion should involve everyone in society, including the unborn.
"There's better answers, so we should come together as a GAA community, as members of a great association, as a country and provide better answers for people, for women."
He told the Irish Independent no official had asked him to stop campaigning or commented to him on his public stance.
Over the weekend Dublin club De La Salle was forced to issue a statement distancing itself from the GAA Athletes for a No Vote launch.
The event was not held at the club's premises but at Ballyfermot Sports and Fitness Centre close by.
Members had contacted the club asking about its involvement in the campaign.
Mr Gallagher understood why people might have made the connection and said De La Salle could have been told about the event.