THE GAA has been accused of inflicting an ancient curse on Ireland which has led to the collapse of the economy and the banks.
According to Billy McGuire, the self-proclaimed keeper of the Sovereign Seals and Harps of Ireland and head of the once-secretive Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB), a new design for the All-Ireland medal which was quietly launched on September 4, 2008, replaced the original Celtic cross design with a "serpent"-inspired logo.
"We now have a symbol of the serpent. That represents darkness and evil -- that is not right. It is awful to give that on a medal to anyone. Every time throughout history the sovereign seal has been desecrated, plagues and terrible misfortune have always followed," says Mr McGuire, a Limerick landowner and descendant of Sam Maguire, who presented the All-Ireland football trophy to the GAA.
"It is no mystery. Anyone who has ever interfered with the sovereign seal has brought down nothing but bad luck upon their shoulders," says Mr McGuire who has campaigned tirelessly on the issue, contacting successive presidents and taoisigh to have the importance of the sovereign seal given proper recognition.
"The harp is a very mysterious symbol and thousands of years old. Various invaders came to Ireland throughout history. They felt that if they got their hands on the original they could rule the world," explains historian Thomais Moriarty. The new lettering on the GAA All-Ireland medal bears an uncanny resemblance to three serpents.