GAA clarifies stance on Quinn rally


THE GAA last night issued a statement distancing itself from a rally held in support of bankrupt businessman Seán Quinn, attended by some of its senior members.

Thousands of supporters of Mr Quinn turned out in Ballyconnell, Co Cavan, last Sunday, including Tyrone manager Mickey Harte, former Meath manager Seán Boylan and player Colm O’Rourke.

Speaking on Monday, former GAA president Seán Kelly defended the support shown for the Quinns, saying it was “an expression of moral support” for a family that had always been loyal to the association. He said the Quinns had never forgotten their roots and had always committed to the GAA financially and in terms of their time. While the rally was not an official protest sanctioned by Croke Park “per se”, the show of support “for our own” and about standing behind those in trouble locally was what the association was all about, he said.

It was “part of the ethos” of the GAA to get behind “a decent family” who were living in the community and who were in a difficult patch and particularly with the national spotlight on them, Mr Kelly had said in a radio interview.

“In some respects it’s an expression of the strength of the organisation,” he said. “We’d probably do exactly the same thing down here in Kerry if someone who was very loyal to us was in difficulty.”

One great strength of the GAA was “we stand by our own”, he said. If people were down in the gutter, that did not mean the GAA turned their backs on them.

The statement from GAA headquarters last night said the body was “a non-party political organisation” whose individual members “may, of course, decide to take positions on a range of issues in accordance with their own personal views”.

The statement continued, “as an association, however, it would be entirely inappropriate for the GAA to become involved in matters outside its remit”.