Row over 'campus ban' call on GAA tops

Row over 'campus ban' call on GAA tops

More than 7,000 people have joined a Facebook page protesting a controversial bid to ban GAA tops on University of Ulster campuses.

A related online petition has attracted almost 3,000 signatures since the ban was suggested by TUV leader Jim Allister.He has called for students to be barred from wearing the jerseys because he claimed that they were causing "a substantial chill factor for students" and "an intimidating atmosphere".One comment on the petition said: "As a student of UUJ and not a member of the Catholic community, these GAA tops do not offend me and I do not feel that I am being discriminated against in the slightest."A university should be inclusive for all and as a Politics student, this has struck a chord and shown me the backward politics and opinions of some of the politicians in Northern Ireland."Another said: "Every student should have a right to wear the jersey of the team they support without this kind of prejudice."Surely there are more pressing issues to be focused on than this waste of time."Sinn Féin MLA Phil Flanagan has dismissed Mr Allister's comments as "absurd".He said: "The university needs to promote diversity in sport and treat all codes with equal respect."The GAA is open to people from all traditions and ethnic backgrounds who take part and enjoy the many sporting and cultural events the GAA provides."He added: "The GAA teams at UU have worn the university's colours with distinction the length and breadth of this country. Is Jim Allister seriously suggesting banning the university's players from wearing their tops on campus?"Mr Allister responded by saying: "I wouldn't expect Mr Flanagan to care about how unionist students feel about the GAA."The question was asked because I was approached by a group of students from a unionist background who felt that the proliferation of GAA tops created a chill factor."The TUV leader also added that some GAA clubs were named after IRA members.

© UTV

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