President Aogan O'Fearghail open to scrapping Irish national anthem and flag at GAA games
Sport

President Aogan O'Fearghail open to scrapping Irish national anthem and flag at GAA games

THE president of the GAA, Aogan O'Fearghail, has suggested the governing body could review its tradition of playing the Irish national anthem and the flying of the Tricolour at matches.

Citing Brexit as a potential cause of mass political change in Ireland, O'Fearghail insisted the GAA will move with whatever change the future brings, even if that means losing popular traditions.

"The flag and anthem means a lot to the GAA and will continue to do so,” he said, speaking in United Arab Emirates on the GAA/GPA Football All Stars tour. "But who knows in the future.

"In the future if there are agreements in place for the whole island, of course the GAA would be inclusive in that.

"There could be further agreements politically at home. It is a changing world at home.

Advertisement
GAA President Aogán Ó Fearghail [Picture: Inpho] GAA President Aogán Ó Fearghail [Picture: Inpho]
"Brexit is going to affect the GAA, the same as it is going to affect everything else. It does cause concerns.

“There might well be, politically, re-alignments on the island of Ireland. And if there are that, the GAA, just as they did before when Sean McCague was president, they welcomed the Anglo-Irish agreement.

"Every successive president has done that, I do that. But in the future if there are new agreements and arrangements, we would be open-minded about things like flags and anthems, but not in advance of the agreements."

Any such change regarding the use of the Amhrán na bhFiann and the Irish flag at GAA matches would apply to games held in England, Scotland and Wales.

Major GAA grounds such as Ruislip (London), Pairc na hEireann (Birmingham), Old Bedians (Manchester) and Coatbridge (Glasgow) have upheld such tradition at key games for many years.