Tuesday 21 August 2018

Memo to 'Eighth' persuaders - back off

The group calling themselves ‘GAA Athletes for a ‘No’ vote’ are perfectly entitled to canvass support as individuals but they are way (stock picture)
The group calling themselves ‘GAA Athletes for a ‘No’ vote’ are perfectly entitled to canvass support as individuals but they are way (stock picture)

Not in my name, if you don't mind. I suspect that's the strong view among the broad GAA membership over being dragged into the Eighth Amendment referendum debate.

Everyone has a personal view on the issue and will vote accordingly, yet many individuals and groups are behaving as if they are so morally and intellectually superior to the rest of us that they consider it their duty to help form our opinions.

The group calling themselves 'GAA Athletes for a 'No' vote' are perfectly entitled to canvass support as individuals but they are way out of order in bringing their Association into their campaign.

The GAA have always done their best to steer clear of political issues and obviously had no intention of becoming involved in this referendum debate either. Yet, when a group of its members form a lobby movement, the subtle impression of official support is created.

That's a distortion of the facts and an insult to the overall membership, who do not want to see the GAA linked in any way to either side of the debate.

Being a member of a sporting body carries a responsibility not to do anything that damages its reputation. Nobody is entitled to use the organisation to press their personal viewpoints, especially in such a deeply sensitive issue as the upcoming referendum.

GAA figures are popping up on the 'repeal' side too, although not using the Association's name, so far at least.

Memo to the whole lot of them and the rest of the lobbying classes: would you all go away and leave us to make up our minds in peace. We are well capable of doing it without your intervention.

Irish Independent

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