GAA targeted once again
GAA targeted once again


A hoax bomb attack at pitches used by a Gaelic sports team is just the latest incident in a campaign of intimidation against Irish culture in east Belfast.

The alarm had been raised with the discovery of a note specifically naming East Belfast GAA and threatening that several devices had been left on the pitches.

A nearby primary school, Lough View Integrated Primary School and Nursery, was forced to close as a result of the bomb alert.

Sinn Féin councillor Padráig Donnelly said the bomb alert had caused disruption to people in the area.

SDLP councillor Séamas de Faoite said the good work of East Belfast GAA would not be stopped by threats or intimidation.

It is an “utter disgrace”, Councillor de Faoite said, as he added that people in east Belfast have “nothing to fear” from the GAA and those responsible for this do not have the support of the community here.

“East Belfast GAA are doing fantastic work locally, introducing GAA to a new audience and getting more people involved in sport.

“The small-minded views of those who continue to oppose progress and diversity in their area will never overshadow the immense success enjoyed by East Belfast GAA since their formation.”

The chair of East Belfast GAA spoke of her disappointment and anger at the situation.

Kimberly Robertson also addressed comments by the TUV’s Anne Smyth, calling them “inflammatory” and said it was a shame to see a politician “rile up hatred” and put members of the club at risk.

Before last week’s council elections, the hardline unionist election candidate had posted on Facebook to complain of “GAA expansionism” in east Belfast in areas like the Henry Jones playing fields.

She also said that the forced cancellation of a GAA taster session at Strandtown Primary School was “justifiable” because of the “sectarian nature of the supposed ‘sporting’ organisation that is the GAA”.

The taster session had to be discontinued after the school had received online threats.

“Anne’s comments were unnecessary and they were inflammatory in our opinion. They put our members at risk, especially in my constituency. It was uncomfortable to think that a politician could rile up hatred like that,” she said.

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