Joe Brolly has a go; Tanaiste says "Me too"

Sometimes reality breaks through the mesh of the media and the results are refreshing. They can also be embarrassing or infuriating or revelatory but they are always refreshing, because they’re the voice of real life, not the media’s version of real life, and that in itself is refreshing. 
Such a rare moment came yesterday when Joe Brolly spoke about the fact that Dungiven’s GAA club is named after Kevin Lynch, a local man who was a member of both the local hurling team and  the Derry county hurling team. He was also a member of the INLA and one of the ten men who died on hunger-strike in 1981. Joe said that he was proud that the club was named after Kevin Lynch and that it was nobody else’s business what name the club chose. “If they don’t like it, they can lump it”.
You don’t hear that kind of blunt language on air as a rule. To be fair to him, when the Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore spoke at a function in Derry last night he tiptoed delicately towards endorsing Joe’s stand: “I think these are issues that the GAA decides. What we have to work at here is how we build bridges, how we move beyond the difficulties of the past”.
Joe’s remarks have been greeted with outrage from the TUV’s Jim Allister. And I’d feel fairly safe in suggesting people like Gregory Campbell would be equally aghast. In which case  I sugggest Jim  and Gregory  be taken by the hand and brought on a guided tour of Belfast. They could start at Windsor Park. Maybe view the Queen’s Bridge, check out the King’s Hall,  look up at Windsor House, make their way down Royal Avenue,drive out to Carnmoney and zip along Prince Charles Way. Lots of people, it’s true,  think this royal naming is a very good idea. Others, like nearly half the population of the state, think it’s a pretty imperialist idea. But the bridges and buildings and roads have been named and I haven’t heard anyone from the nationalist or republican community saying they were outraged or demanding a name-change. 
Joe Brolly says the Dungiven club was named after Kevin Lynch because he played for the club and for the Derry Senior hurling team. I expect that’s true. But I also expect that part of the reason the club was named after him was that he was one of ten men who died on hunger-strike rather than accept that republicans were common criminals.  You have to believe very firmly in an idea if you’re prepared to die for it, in this case very slowly and very painfully.  So that kind of heroic resolve may well have been part of what the club admired in this local man.  Unionists of course will argue that the INLA and the IRA were groups of common criminals. Republicans, nationalists and most GAA members, I’d venture to suggest, see things rather differently.
The part of Joe’s remark that strikes home with sharp-edged truth is “It’s none of their business”.  The ‘they’ he’s referring to are those who would presume to tell the GAA, Sinn Féin, the Catholic Church, Catholic schools, the southern government – all sort of organisations and institutions to which they do not now  belong, never have belonged, and have no intention of ever belonging to – that they would presume to tell  these groupings how to manage their affairs.  
Fact: Gaelic games are not played on a competitive basis in any State/Protestant school, except you include Integrated schools. No unionist politician I can think of plays Gaelic games, no unionist that I know of attends Gaelic games. And yet unionist politicians would presume to tell the GAA how they should act, what names they should or should not use, what rules should govern their organisation. What next –  the proposed names of children born into republican/nationalist families  to be submitted to the likes of Jim and Gregory for approval, before proceeding with the infant’s birth registration?  
There comes a point where, if you dance to the piper’s every tune, the piper begins to feel contempt for you. Joe Brolly has just called time on the dancing.  

34 Responses to Joe Brolly has a go; Tanaiste says "Me too"

  1. Anonymous October 19, 2013 at 2:05 pm #

    So Jude accepts that GAA is an exclusive nationalist sport.

    Also thinks it’s acceptable for it to honour terrorists because it’s a nationalist sport.

    And he thinks the Royal family and the INLA are equally suitable as subjects to name things after.

    Oh and he thinks Windsor Park, opened in 1905, more than ten years before the Royal Family changed its name to Windsor, was named after the Royal Family.

    • Jude Collins October 19, 2013 at 2:24 pm #

      Thanks for your thoughts, Anon. GAA exclusive nationalist sport? No – it’s open to everybody. Believes it’s OK to ‘honour terrorists’ because the GAA is nationalist? I don’t think the Dungiven GAA named the club after Lynch because he was in the INLA – lots of people were in it – but because (among other reasons) he died on hunger-strike. I know it’s hard for unionists to accept, but most nationalists/republicans see the hunger-strikers in different terms. Windsor Park opened before Royal Family (note caps) changed their name? I was going to respond to that but your sentence says it all.

    • Anonymous October 20, 2013 at 10:15 am #

      You’re contradicting yourself, Jude. You say GAA isn’t exclusively nationalist while at the same time agreeing that it’s none of unionists’ business.

      They honoured Lynch not because he was a terrorist but because he was a hunger striker? Why was he a hunger striker? Because he was a convicted terrorist trying to legitimise his crimes and trying to manipulate emotions by portraying himself as a victim. And you think it’s acceptable to honour someone like that.

      My sentence says it all? What does that mean?

      You attempt to equate the Royal Family with terrorist hunger-strikers and implied that Windsor Park is named after the Royal Family, but don’t have the integrity to accept a correction on the latter point.

    • Jude Collins October 20, 2013 at 12:11 pm #

      Good to hear from you again, Anon. Brief response I’m afraid – tempus fugit.
      1. GAA is not exclusively nationalist but its members have the rights to choose the names for their clubs/trophies – Sam Maguire, Wolfe Tone, John Mitchel, Kevin Lynch, etc
      2. I accept that you see Lynch as a convicted terrorist. That’s not how the good people of Dungiven, or certainly the majority of them, see Lynch. They see him as someone they’re proud of. Have been for over 30 years.
      3. Your sentence: I just thought it hilarious – that the Royals changed their name at such-and-such a date rather than such-and-such a date. So they wouldn’t sound as German (Saxe-Coburg-Gotha was a bit of a give-away). You’re quite right and I accept your correction on which came first, the Royal chicken or the Windsor egg. Mea culpa. Nothing wrong with changing your name to the name of one of your many residences…
      Thanks again for contribution, Anon. Keep ’em coming.

    • Anonymous October 20, 2013 at 10:22 pm #

      1. The names that they choose, amongst many other things, demonstrate how it is exclusively nationalist. It’s a nationalist organisation hence unionists are excluded.

      2. If the people of Dungiven don’t see Lynch as a terrorist and are proud of him, then they are not “good” people. They are also wrong as he was convicted of terrorist offences and was a member of a terrorist gang. That’s why he was in gaol.

      You appear to think it’s OK to name sports clubs after terrorists.

      You also equate honouring a terrorist with honouring members of the Royal Family.

      This is all bad.

    • eamonn og October 21, 2013 at 1:21 pm #

      Define terrorism from 1169 in Irish history anon many many prodestants in united Irishmen IRA and INLA

  2. Anonymous October 19, 2013 at 2:20 pm #

    “no unionist that I know of attends Gaelic games”.
    Isn’t that the whole point of having the debate?

    • Anonymous October 21, 2013 at 7:10 pm #

      I note Mike Nesbitt attended the Down Co Final yesterday along with Alastair Mc Donnell.

  3. Anonymous October 19, 2013 at 2:27 pm #

    Naming streets etc after the British Royal Family is not the equivalent of naming things after Kevin Lynch.
    The equivalent of naming things after the British Royal Family would be to name something after the President of the Irish Republic. No mainstream Ulster Protestant would have a serious objection to this.
    The equivalent of naming something after Kevin Lynch, would be if a football club was named after Lenny Murphy or Billy Wright.

    Jude is being uncharacteristically dense if he can’t accept this straightforward point.

  4. Anonymous October 19, 2013 at 4:27 pm #

    This is simply ridiculous behavior from the GAA. In the interests of moving forward, why can the GAA not change Club names, stop flying the Irish Tricolour & stop playing of Amhrán na bhFiann ? They could then make a move on cutting out the use of Irish language in stadia and match programmes. Perhaps also redesign some of those distinctly Gaelic looking Club emblems ?

    This would be a great wee country if republicans stopped all their nonsense and respected unionist culture…

    • Anonymous October 20, 2013 at 10:16 am #

      So, unlike Jude, you believe the GAA is a republican organisation.

  5. Anonymous October 19, 2013 at 4:27 pm #

    Hey Jude,

    I like Joe Brolly and admire him for saying what he thinks but sometimes it is not what you say, it is how you say it.

    I think sometimes we all have to bite our tongue. If someone annoys us by what they say the temptation can sometimes be to retort with a comment which isn’t just hurtful to the originator of the slight but to a much wider group and I think that is what has happened in this instance.

    There is no compasion or empathy in ‘like it or lump it’ by any man’s standards.

    Joe is a very intelligent man and should know better than to be goaded by an anti-agreement ‘knocker’ like Jim Allister.

    On this occassion I would have to say the result is:-
    Jim Allister 1 – Joe Brolly 0 and the only score of the match was an own goal!

  6. Anonymous October 19, 2013 at 10:35 pm #

    Few people will worry greatly about Jim Allister’s view of Joe Brollys comments.As far as I am aware, this is the only club to be named after a “republican terrorist”.In passing I wonder what was the previous name of the Dungiven club.I would be more concerned at the extent to which Sinn Fein attempts to colonise units of the G.A A.In recent times this was exemplified at the time of the Hunger Strikes when not so subtle pressures were put on clubs by many of those in the Sinn Fein hierarchy.Since then I am aware that Sinn Fein has used Casement Park for rallies despite the misgivings of many Antrim Gaels .You will of course be aware how G A A personalities such as Peter Canavan were recruited to endorse the Presidential aspirations of Martin Mc Guinness.

    • Anonymous October 20, 2013 at 1:12 pm #

      You are obviously a fan of Mr Allisters and mirror his insults of the GAA by your calculated use of the word ‘units’ to describe GAA clubs in an unsubtle attempt to equate GAA clubs to units of the IRA. I think other readers will recognise when the mask of bigotry has slipped!

    • Anonymous October 20, 2013 at 4:24 pm #

      You are obviously a conspiracy theorist seeing plots where none exist.I am far from being a fan of Mr Allister but was making a legitimate point about the way in which Sinn Fein contrives to insinuate itself into aspects of the G A A.

    • Anonymous October 20, 2013 at 8:59 pm #

      Ha ha, and you call me a conspiracy theorist!

      You failed to address your use of the terms “units of the GAA”.

    • Anonymous October 20, 2013 at 9:44 pm #

      Any perception of equivalence between G A A clubs and I R A units is purely in your mind.”Mask of bigotry has slipped” .As a member of the G A A,I am unlikely to be a follower of the T U V.Conveniently you fail to address the issues raised in my original post.

    • Anonymous October 21, 2013 at 10:27 pm #

      Unlike Sectarian organisations like the Orange Order, anyone can be a member of the GAA, including you, although I very much doubt that you will convince many that someone who would use such naive terminology such as “I would be more concerned at the extent to which Sinn Fein attempts to colonise units of the G.A A” or “As far as I am aware, this is the only club to be named after a “republican terrorist”” would in fact be a member of the GAA.

      Keep living the dream pal!

    • Anonymous October 22, 2013 at 11:15 am #

      2 points
      I–You will note that “republican terrorist” is in inverted commas.I was being ironic citing Allister’s use of words
      2–Why do you claim my terminology is naive?Once again I note you have failed to address the points in my original post!

    • Anonymous October 23, 2013 at 11:12 pm #

      In relation to your first point, I kept your chosen term in inverted comas! It is the whole statement which reads as naive. Any true Gael would know that clubs, grounds and trophies all over the country have historically been named after physical force republicans.

      With regard to your second point, you have me beaten! In fact you have all the friends I forwarded your thread to beaten also. Not one of them could work out what your original point was in relation to my original contribution!

      If your whole point was your thing against Sinn Fein, how could I possibly address that? I made no reference to Sinn Fein nor did I comment about how others apart from Joe Brolly might have felt about Jim Allister’s provocative comments about the GAA?

      Do you not feel it’s time you stopped digging?

    • Anonymous October 24, 2013 at 8:44 pm #

      1—Please define what you mean by a true Gael.Its a term often used but rarely defined specifically .
      2–To go back to my original post would you agree that not so subtle pressures were put on many clubs by Sinn Fein members at the time of the Hunger Strikes? Would you also agree that Sinn Fein has used Casement Park for rallies despite the misgivings of many Antrim Gaels? Is your view on all this totally disinterested ?You seem unduly taken with what is only a sequence of posts on Jude’s blog site.

  7. Anonymous October 20, 2013 at 2:34 am #

    The TUV, DUP and UUP still don’t want to come to terms with the fact that their voters are members of sectarian organisations (i.e. Orange Order) which promotes intolerance and hatred of other faiths. Surely they should be concentrating on rectifying their own house before preaching to others?

  8. Anonymous October 20, 2013 at 10:43 am #

    There’s one thing to say for Brolly. At least he’s honest. For him no pretence about the GAA being inclusive: it’s a nationalist sport and none of unionists’ business.

    However he also assumes that nationalists are happy for the GAA to honour terrorists. Are they?

    • Anonymous October 20, 2013 at 12:43 pm #

      Fair point.You’ll find that a lot of these agendas in clubs are driven by Sinn Fein.As Anon (23 35) points out,the Party has form in this area.The sad thing is that certain elements of unionism see S F and the G. A A as being synonymous which they are not.One of the great strengths of the G A A is that it is community based and covers a wide selection of views,not all of them republican .

  9. Anonymous October 20, 2013 at 11:26 am #

    Cromwell Road, Belfast. DUP need to seriously get a grip on reality and SF need to start confronting the DUP’s hypocrisy

  10. John Patton October 20, 2013 at 2:46 pm #

    Carlisle Road, once Ferry’s principal commercial thoroughfare
    puzzled me as a child since I couldn’t figure out where Carlisle was. l drove by there

    this weekend; what a derelict remnant it is and why is the street still named after it in an Irish town?

    • Anonymous October 22, 2013 at 6:36 pm #

      Carlisle Road in Derry which led to Carlisle Bridge (now Craigavon Bridge) was named after Lord Carlisle,Lord Lieutenant of Ireland at the time it was opened in 1863.Craigavon Bridge replaced the older bridge,and opened 1933,it was named after Lord Craigavon, the first Prime Minister of Northern Ireland.Personally I think this bridge should be named the John Hume Bridge as no one in Ireland in the face of great adversity and threat to life and liberty has done more to bring the two communities in Northern Ireland together peacefully than Mr Hume and I say that as someone who never voted SDLP in my life and probably never will but you have to give credit where it is due.

    • Anonymous October 22, 2013 at 9:54 pm #

      Now there’s something you don’t often see on a Jude Collins blog site -praise for an S D L P politician!

  11. Cuchulainn Ghobsmacht October 22, 2013 at 7:09 am #

    Just a cotton pickin’ minute here Mr Collins.

    All summer long people such as myself (almost anonymously I’ll admit as I’m just a lowly blogger), LAD, ‘residents groups’ and the occasional politician have been lambasting bands that the OO employ/follow/hang around/whatever about naming themselves after terrorists (or ‘defenders’ as people like Jamie Bryson would see them).

    Now, when people are highlighting that a ‘open and community minded’ sports association adopts a similar practice we find that it’s no one else’s business?

    Not only that, it’s no one else’s business because there’s very few Unionists in the GAA?

    Part of the reason for the low level of involvement by Unionists is because of article 1.8 (flag), the singing of the soldier’s song (though I doubt if all clubs do it) and naming some clubs after terrorists.

    The GAA’s cross community programs (like the Cuchullainns) are small change compared to these big obstacles and quite frankly in the long term a waste of time if they don’t take care of the big three.

    Now, are they are cross community sporting association that is open to all AND one that receives millions of tax pounds in funding?

    Then they should act like it.

    This involves making it a bit more acceptable to those annoying Protestant types.

    You never know your luck, they might not join anyway, fingers crossed eh?

    And how can you seriously say that there’s never been any concerted efforts to rename anything?

    If I recall correctly at least one of those tower block’s in New Lodge was renamed.

    I would loved to have played Gaelic sports as a LAD (I had to wait till I moved to Glasgow and took up Shinty as it was the closest equivalent) but Catholic schools have the monopoly on them, and can you imagine how intimidating it is for a teen to enter a GAA club and be the only Protestant there?

    On top of that you may have to play against people whose club is named after some one whose organisation tried to kill members of your family/community/neighbours?

    A disgusting suggestion, not compatible with this shared future malarky at all.

    Like it or lump it proddy?

    This is reprehensible and you’re sugar coating it.

    If the GAA support the shared future idea then they should act like it.

    If they don’t then they should at least admit it and not just make the right token gestures to get the funds.

    Just because you can find an abundance of examples of poor behaviour on the Unionist side of the fence doesn’t exempt the GAA from having to have some sort of principled behaviour.

  12. Jude Collins October 22, 2013 at 7:59 am #

    CG – thanks for your extended thoughts. I agree with you on some, not on others. Personally I don’t think the playing of Amhrán na bhFiann and the flying of the tricolour should feature at all or maybe any games – but then I’m opposed to national anthem playing at all international games, including the Olympic Games. I don’t think you can talk about Catholic schools having ‘a monopoly’ on playing Gaelic games – I once did some research into that and the PE department in Protestant schools told me that they were for it but the parents wouldn’t wear it under any circumstances. So I think that yes, much of the GAA’s outreach is falling on stony ground, which is a pity, since I’m sure in some cases people are allowing their political loyalties to cut off the nose on their sporting face. Final point: I agree the GAA should constantly look at itself and how it might make itself a more welcoming place for unionists. But I don’t think they should jump to the tune of people who frankly detest the GAA, would never dream of playing it or watching it, and if they discovered their spouse/partner had once played/watched, would sue for divorce/separation.

    • Cuchulainn Ghobsmacht October 22, 2013 at 10:30 am #

      Well yes, I do forget about the die hards on my side of the fence who are just plain opposed to the GAA in any shape or form.

      But there are a number of us, more than we’re willing to admit who would join if things were different (or would have joined, my shin splints now prohibit my participation down here in Oz. Excuses excuses.)

      I get frustrated at the loyalist bands, the Ulster-Scots societies, the IFA and the GAA not properly leveling the playing field.

      They all know where they fail and know what is the right thing to do.

      If people don’t want to mix after all the obstacles are taken down, well, that’s just an ugly reflection on society, but an honest one at least.

      At the moment all we can do is blame ‘themuns’ for not being opoen enough.

  13. Anonymous October 22, 2013 at 9:21 am #

    unionists “culture” is making NO attempts to outreach to the nationalist community, if anything there are pushing nationalists/catholics further back with the crumlin road carry on. people saying the GAA should get rid of their national flag and anthem, lets see some movement from orange culture in outreach before we start giving up things that are held dear to us (me anyway), it really annoys me to see the Irish rugby team not singing our national anthem or flying our national flag after so many brave men fought for that flag and to make Ireland a nation again

    • Cuchulainn Ghobsmacht October 24, 2013 at 6:50 am #

      Unionist ‘culture’?

      Well, which aspect? The loyalist band scene? Alas, you’re right

      The Orange Order? Yes, you’re right again.

      Ulster-Scots? Yup, they hijacked the Scottish angle and make it harder for most Nationalists to partake, even though there’s hardly a person in the land without some Scots blood way back up the line especially in Co Antrim: McShanes, McCauleys, McSweens…

      However, not all Unionists partake in these particular aspects that contain our more hard-line types.
      In fact, the vast silent majority don’t.

      And many if not most of them would regard themselves as Irish and some would like a bite at certain aspects of Irish culture that is closed to them.

      The GAA being the example of the moment.

      The tricolour and anthem are an obstacle.

      Removing them won’t do anything for the 40 000 aging Orange men in NI other than give them one less thing to whinge about.

      But they are only 40 000 out of 900 000.

      Is their narrow mindedness really justification for an organisation that receives UK taxpayers’ money to prop up obstacles while claiming to reach out to all sections of the community?

      By a similar token I’d stop the lottery money and wot-not going to the OO et al if they can’t get their act together.

      So, people say the GAA should be a bit more sensitive with the tricolour and anthem in certain parts of Ireland. e.g. Antrim is not Kerry. (Who said getting rid of it altogether?)

      What’s wrong with this idea?

      You’ll find many of the people who say this also criticise the Northern Ireland football team for not having a proper flag and for singing GSTQ and for playing in Windsor park.

      The demands for all of the above are reasonable: to stop intimidating people.

      It annoys me that people are annoyed that their anthem is no longer used to dominate others.

      If Ireland is playing in a 26 county capacity, well, fill yer boots with tricolours and the anthem.

      It’s only proper and good luck on all sporting endeavours. (except football, sorry, we need all the fans we can get thanks to our incompetent IFA)

      In a six county capacity they should be playing their own regional anthem and flying their own regional flag (which unfortunately involves a lot of common sense and bap-wising, so could be a while).

      However, for 32 county games, there is no reason whatsoever for the tricolour and Amhrán na bhFiann to be the representative flag and anthem.

      Either have a ‘flag of the Irish nation’ e.g. the old green flag with a golden harp or such like and some sort of anthem for the nation OR fly TWO flags and play TWO anthems to represent both political entities.

      I shouldn’t have to reiterate this, but, for the sake of rebuttal, the tricolour is not the flag of 32 county Ireland.

      Yes most want it to be but at the moment it is not.

      That is a fact.
      Please deal with it.

      Palming off the concerns of the minority community cos you don’t like/acknowledge them sounds awfully similar to a scenario in Northern Ireland that erupted in the late 60’s.

      Is the shoe now on the other foot and the sentiment of NICRA gone?