The GAA and a border poll

Sir, – It was with great interest that I read Seán Moran's article "GAA need to tread warily around the issue of a Border poll" (Sports Analysis, March 6th).

While the evolution of the GAA is to be above politics that is certainly not its origins nor the purpose of rule 1.2. The GAA very clearly had as its aim, through promoting Irish identity in its games, to encourage a sense of nationalism, which when combined with the Gaelic revival of that time, aided the re-establishment of self-determination, and later statehood.

Looking at who founded the organisation and spread it across the nation further re-enforce this.

Its activities throughout the revolutionary period show this too.


The fact that it became the most successful part of that revival and became distant to its political history reflects the fact that the populace South of the Border diverged from those in the North, of either tradition. Sport won out and unity became more aspirational to us in our safe Republic, as we realised what a challenge it would present.

Also, for nationalists, the GAA became a safe expression of identity amongst the Troubles and it was the one organisation that did not desert them, given the other All-Ireland bodies do not historically represent working-class Catholics.

It is not unreasonable, though we may not like it, for the Northern nationalist to expect the GAA to rally to their cause. This is what Joe Brolly and Jarlath Burns are asking for. – Is mise,



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