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Gaelic Athletic Association - Oral History Project

Politics: More Quotes

gaa oral history project

'I was brought up in a pro-ban house. I was pro-ban whether I liked it or not. But in his last few years, my father changed his mind on the ban and agreed that it should be got rid of. I remember the morning that they had the vital vote; I was driving him to work. I said to him, “What was the decision?” He said, "You know what it was." I think I accused him of letting down the GAA.'
—Marcus de Burca, 82, Dublin
© GAA Oral History Project

‘That was the time of Tops of Parish … and Parish Leagues … there were four areas in parish … at that time, one section of the parish was particularly suspicious of two other sections, and when I was secretary, I remember that being a big factor. One of those sections would have often felt a grievance, and everyone else would have said they were paranoid.’
—John Stephen O'Sullivan, 68, Kerry
© GAA Oral History Project

'One has to look at the number of footballers and hurlers who were elected as TDs. Being a good GAA player gave you an excellent start. Both Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael used to seek players to run for their party ... there is an old saying: "The GAA, Second Mass, and Fianna Fáil in that order," and I believe they were right.'
—Jack Ryan, 74, Galway
© GAA Oral History Project

'There was some political bickering in 1964 when the Secretary and Chairman of the club were prominent Fianna Fáil supporters, and the Dunmore captain was Fine Gael. This was a source of contention when John Donnellan contested the by-election, which was caused by the death of his father on All-Ireland Day in Croke Park. John was captain of the winning team. John won the by-election in the biggest upset in voting trends since the foundation of the state!'
—Micheál Ó Liodáin, 63, Galway
© GAA Oral History Project

‘The one venue that does stick in my mind would be Crossmaglen in Armagh and going there with my father to the Cardinal O’Fiaich cup … that really is the memory that sticks out in my mind … it’s really not a competitive tournament … whether you’d be playing Armagh or Tyrone or whatever the case might be, all of a sudden these helicopters would come in over the pitch, not more than a hundred feet above the ground when the game would be played, soldiers rustling through the hedges around the pitch, and even prior to the game when we’d be standing around as the players would be getting ready in the changing rooms, we maybe outside having a social chat, British Army soldiers with their guns would walk directly for you and you’d have to stand out of the way.’
—Donal Kearney, 33, Louth
© GAA Oral History Project

“In my time in St. Paul’s (club) in Belfast on the Upper Falls Road in the ... late '70s and early '80s, inevitably the club was intertwined with the political situation, with the Troubles. Several members of St. Paul’s Club were involved in incidences and situations. Our club was raided pretty often by the British Army. My own experience was limited to having three cars hijacked or stolen. One of which happened while I was at a club meeting, I served on the committee at the time, but that was insignificant compared to what a lot of members suffered up there.”
—Greg Kelly, 57, Fermanagh
© GAA Oral History Project

'We went through, again in the '80s, a situation where every Sunday we had a bomb scare. You never had an evacuation, but you did have to call a search and you tried to do that discreetly, that you weren’t frightening the spectators. So there were various codes which avoided the use of the term "bomb". We had … fellows trying to get on, protesters trying to get onto the pitch and roll out the IRA banners.”
—Bill Barry, 62, Cork, Deputy Chief Steward, Croke Park
© GAA Oral History Project

‘The obvious one is the opening up of Croke Park and in my mind the social changes this has brought. People who before wouldn’t even think of visiting Croke Park (seriously — they had to put maps to Croke Park on the south-side darts) have visited the stadium and seem to be a lot more open to Gaelic Games. The whole GAA/Rugby/Soccer divide seems to be eroding. … A single change which I never thought I would see was the playing of "God Save the Queen" in Croke Park and the warm reception the song got within the stadium.’
—Mark Reynolds, 29, Dublin
© GAA Oral History Project

‘I wouldn’t be for letting foreign sports into Croke Park, I’m still against that, it was built by people throwing a pound in going into club games all over Ireland for years, and I still don’t like to see foreign sports in Croke Park.’
—Paddy Coyle, 47, Tyrone
© GAA Oral History Project

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