Saturday 20 January 2018

GAA boss defends ban on referee's rainbow wristband

THE GAA president has defended the organisation's decision to prohibit a referee from officiating at a match wearing a rainbow wristband.

Aogan O Fearghail said that referee David Gough's wish to wear the band at the Dublin vs Tyrone game ahead of the same sex marriage referendum was against GAA rules.

He said the decision to prevent him wearing it "wasn't controversial" on that basis.

Mr Gough had hit out at the GAA over the ban saying he and other gay members of the sporting organisation were "let down" by the decision.

He said he wanted to wear the band in support of marriage equality ahead of the referendum due in May.

Mr Gough claimed that the GAA "over-analysed and over-politicised a very simple gesture".

Speaking to the Herald at an event in Croke Park yesterday, Mr O Fearghail, stood behind the GAA decision.

"Our rule book is clear on this. It wasn't controversial, I would have to say. It was very simple.


"We are a non-party political organisation and once something goes to the people in a referendum there's very clear guidelines as to what you can be involved in and what you can not be.

"Once a referendum is before the people we as an association do not take sides in a public way," Mr O Fearghail said.

"Our members can make up their own minds, but as an organisation and particularly here in Croke Park, our public way of showing ourselves and what we are about, we don't associate ourselves with political activities," he added.

Mr O Fearghail was appointed as the new GAA president last month.

He was attending the unveiling of a mosaic at Croke Park, which was made by the students of St Columba's National School, North Strand along with artists Ulrika Holmquist and Fionnuala Halpin.

Entitled 'Conas a fuair Cu Chulainn a ainm', the mosaic took two years to complete and was funded from the Croke Park Community Fund.

It tells the story of how Irish legend Cu Chulainn got his name and hangs on the wall near the entrance to the Cusack stand. The Croke Park Community Fund allocates €100,000 a year to local groups.

Principal Ann Creaner said the mosaic was "a celebration of all that is good in our area".


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