Sport GAA

Saturday 24 August 2019

Martin Breheny: Curious Donegal sequel into Ó Fearghail's anthem comments

Sean Dunnion, Donegal County Chairman. Photo: Sportsfile
Sean Dunnion, Donegal County Chairman. Photo: Sportsfile
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

Loyalty may be an admirable trait but it must have its limits. Step forward, Donegal officials Sean Dunnion (chairman) and Mick McGrath (children's officer) whose rush to defend GAA president Aogán ó Fearghail over his comments on the role of flags and anthems in a press interview in Dubai last month did not shed much light on the issue.

Basically, ó Fearghail said that in a rapidly-changing world the GAA might, at some stage in the future, have to examine how appropriate the use of flags and anthems were.

That's already worth debating in the many countries where Gaelic games are thriving. Former GAA director-general Liam Mulvihill raised this issue several years ago, rightly spotting that what happens in Ireland may not be suitable everywhere.

ó Fearghail, surely a most unlikely candidate to do anything that would weaken the GAA ethos, merely speculated on what might happen in the future.

The Cavan man could never have expected such a hysterical reaction from some quarters back home and calmly clarified the position on his return. It wasn't good enough for some Donegal delegates who spun into overdrive in their discussion of his remarks at Sunday's county convention.

However, that was no excuse for Dunnion and McGrath to claim that ó Fearghail was misquoted by the several GAA correspondents from the Irish media who interviewed him.

"He was misquoted in Dubai," said Dunnion while 'misquoted' was also McGrath's take on things. No, he wasn't and he never alleged that.

Unwittingly, perhaps, Dunnion and McGrath have impugned other people's integrity?

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I suppose an apology is out of the question.

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