Row over 'campus ban' call on GAA tops

Published Friday, 11 April 2014
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More than 7,000 people have joined a Facebook page protesting a controversial bid to ban GAA tops on University of Ulster campuses.

Row over 'campus ban' call on GAA tops
The TUV has suggested that the University of Ulster should ban GAA tops. (© UTV)

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 News
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51 Comments
Ryan in An Dun wrote (219 days ago):
Well Iain that's your opinion. I'm simply stating my point that Jim Alister doesn't know the meaning of the word equality. So how am I like Jim? If I think that if you ban one part of the community wearing sporting gear, then all sporting gear should be banned. Is it not EQUALITY? So how am I like Jim? In fact Iain most of you entries that I have seen arnt actually comments, Just you moaning about others and their comments. Sure you can sit on the sidleines, yawning and moaning. My comments are my views. If you don't like them, fine. I'll not loose any sleep mo chara.
Dorothy in Kansas wrote (219 days ago):
Maybe Jim Allister is a closet Republican, who goes on these rants to turn people away from Unionism? It’s widely thought that the IRA had a standing order not to harm Ian Paisley, on the grounds that every time he opened his mouth he turned people away from his cause.
Iain in Belfast wrote (219 days ago):
Well Ryan your solution is exactly the same as your friend Jim Allistair. Them un's won't let us wear what we want so you think the answer is to do the same. Great idea. Rather than condemn a pretty horrible act (naming a children's play park after someone who spilt blood during the troubles) you look to score cheap points and point the finger. And read my original comment regarding GAA tops. I have no problem with anyone wearing one. Why should I? You really are clueless and still horribly blinkered.
Ryan in An Dun wrote (220 days ago):
@iain. In what way? Back u your comment instead of your nice wee one liners. Your all for this then Iain? Would you be happy just to ban GAA tops????
Ryan in An Dun wrote (221 days ago):
@ Linda in ni. Open your eyes Linda. How many OO bands are named after loyalist paramilitaries and yet the 12th is meant to be "cross community" . Burning Irish flags and catholic emblems on the 11th? Cross community Linda? Don't come on here and talk about equality at the same time spouting the usual loyalist propaganda. The GAA are an organisation that is self sufficient, they don't pay their players therefore the money taking in goes into youth development and making Croke Park one of the best stadiums in Europe. The GAA abolished rule 21 so members of the security forces can play Gaelic sports. Please research before you comment on something you know nothing about!
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