Sunday 19 November 2017

Leading GAA figure offers to axe the Tricolour

Jarlath Burns: Would remove Tricolour at GAA matches
Jarlath Burns: Would remove Tricolour at GAA matches

Steven Alexander

A former GAA star and one of the sport's leading voices has would get rid of the Tricolour at games if it helped bring about reconciliation with unionists.

Jarlath Burns also said he would support the ending of the playing of the Irish national anthem if it helped the sport reach out to Protestants.

The former Armagh senior football captain is now chairman of the Rules Committee in GAA headquarters at Croke Park and has been tipped as a potential head of the organisation in the future.

Mr Burns is regarded as one of the most progressive voices in gaelic sport and republicanism, and was a member of the Eames-Bradley group that produced a controversial report on dealing with the legacy of the Troubles.

Last night, he told 'Eamonn Mallie Meets' on Irish TV that the GAA needs to reach out to the unionist community.

And he said that symbols usually associated with the GAA now mean less to him than they once did - and losing them could help build bridges with unionism.

Asked whether he would have any reluctance about taking down the Tricolour over a GAA pitch, Mr Burns replied: "Yeah, it wouldn't cost me a though. And you know this - flags are divisive - do we need to say that any louder in this territory?"

He told broadcaster Mr Mallie that the older he gets, the less flags and anthems mean to him.

"If somebody was to propose in the morning that they were going to get rid of them all, it wouldn't bother me at all. It's not one of the core values that I have.

"It's an overtly political thing, it's something which is specific to national borders, it's nothing to do with [culture]."

However he also accepted that getting rid of flags and anthems "is not going to happen in the GAA".

Irish Independent

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