GAA distances itself from Eighth Amendment events

Mickey Harte and others launched a movement calling for No vote at the weekend

The GAA has clarified its position on the upcoming Eight Amendment referendum. Photo: Inpho

The GAA has clarified its position on the upcoming Eight Amendment referendum. Photo: Inpho

 

The GAA has clarified its position on the upcoming Eighth Amendment referendum, saying that its members are entitled to take whatever stance they want but, as an organisation, they do “not take a position, or comment in any way, on either elections or referenda.”

On Saturday a group of GAA members held an event called ‘GAA Athletes for a No Vote’ in Ballyfermot along with former Meath player Joe Sheridan, Antrim footballer Patrick Gallagher, Derry camogie player Aoife Cassidy and Galway player AnneMarie McDonagh.

The event caused much controversy with Ballyfermot GAA immediately distancing itself from it by saying it was “in no way associated” with the launch.

“It would be wholly inappropriate for the club to be associated with the launch as the GAA and its clubs do not become involved in political matters.”

Harte and the other associated GAA athletes held some skills sessions for children, did a series of media interviews and released a statement saying “we are an inclusive organisation. There is a space for everybody at our table. In keeping with those principles, we are coming together today to ask the Irish people to vote NO on 25 May.”

Separately, former All-Ireland winner with Donegal, Eamon McGee spoke at the launch of the Donegal Together for Yes campaign on Friday, and called for a respectful debate on both sides.

The GAA have since written to all 32 counties to clarify their position and ask that they don’t associate themselves with either side of the debate ahead of next month’s referendum on whether to remove the Eighth Amendment from the constitution.

Following that they released a statement which read: “The GAA is a non-party organisation whose individual members may, of course, decide to take positions on political issues in accordance with their own personal views and commitments. As an Association, however, the GAA does not take a position, or comment in any way, on either elections or referenda.”

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