Tuesday 24 October 2017

We must treasure GAA's traditions - not ditch them for wishful thinking

GAA President Aogan O'Fearghail
GAA President Aogan O'Fearghail
Liam Collins

Liam Collins

A couple of years ago Billy Maguire, a descendent of Sam Maguire whose name graces Ireland's best known sporting trophy, discovered that the GAA had removed the harp from the All-Ireland medal. At the time, the GAA couldn't really explain why this key symbol was dropped from the redesigned medal, the pinnacle of sporting achievement for most people in this country. Perhaps the reasons are now becoming clear.

There appears to be a desire at the heart of the organisation to distance itself, not only from its nationalist past, but from its past in general, in a misguided and fruitless pursuit of international recognition.

GAA president Aogán Ó Fearghaíl is open to the idea of dropping the widespread use of the Irish flag and anthem in the context of what he calls "an agreed Ireland". He added: "Well, it'd be time to look at it in our own island too in terms of an agreed Ireland, which everybody in Ireland, everybody in the GAA, looks at."

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