Saturday 21 April 2018

'Enough is enough' - Dubs fans threaten boycott over flag ban

The iconic Dublin flag in Hill 16 has been banned from Croke Park by the GAA.
The iconic Dublin flag in Hill 16 has been banned from Croke Park by the GAA.

The GAA has defended its decision to ban an iconic Dublin flag from Hill 16, insisting the terror attack in Manchester has resulted in a number of policy changes.

It came after Dublin supporters threatened to boycott food and drink franchises in Croke Park over new flag regulations, to be implemented for the All-Ireland quarter-finals.

Supporters are infuriated at the decision of the GAA to ban the large Dublin flag, after advice from Dublin Fire Brigade (DFB). It is understood that DFB views large flags as a fire hazard.

The ban comes after the GAA introduced a new safety directive last month, which dictates that all flags, bags or packages exceeding a A4 size (21cm x 29.7cm) will be prohibited from the grounds.

GAA director of communications Alan Milton said the new provisions come amid incidents such as the May terrorist attack at Manchester Arena. "We have taken a policy decision that any packages larger than A4 will not be allowed to enter the stadium," Mr Milton said.

Simple

"It's simple, we live in a different time, where large articles cannot be brought into stadiums such as Croke Park. That's just modern society unfortunately. This is a stadium-wide approach, with nothing other than the interest of our patrons and their health and safety at heart.

"We are aware of the issues that have happened in Manchester, and other places, and we've had to amend our stadium regulations because of the changes in the environment, - and to not do so would be negligent."

The planned boycott would come into place on August 5 for the Dubs' All-Ireland quarter-final.

The collective of Dublin GAA supporters Facebook groups hit out at the move.

"Yesterday's banning of the large flag has led us to finally say enough is enough," the statement read.

"We, as social media pages that represent Dublin GAA supporters, are therefore calling on all Dublin GAA supporters to boycott every retail facility inside Croke Park on August 5.

"We would urge you all to bring your own food and drinks and not contribute one cent to the bars, shops and every other outlet inside Croke Park."

Independent councillor Christy Burke has weighed in but called on supporters to postpone the boycott.

Willing

He said he has been in contact with Croke Park stadium director Peter McKenna, who said he is willing to meet with supporter groups.

Mr McKenna is currently on holiday and will not be able to hold the meeting in time for Dublin's next outing at Croker.

"I would like to call on all the GAA fan pages to hold off on the boycott while discussions are ongoing," Cllr Burke said.

"Peter McKenna has promised that we can discuss all matters and put everything on the table.

"It's a response and let's see what can come from it."

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