Loyalists targeting the GAA
Loyalists targeting the GAA


A loyalist campaign against Gaelic games in the north of Ireland has seen sectarian stickers placed around east Belfast.

Images shared to social media on Tuesday show stickers, which state: “GAA not welcome in East Belfast - IRA Scum”

Another sticker reads: “Republicans Out Landlords Beware”

The East Belfast GAA club has been playing and training in and around the area for three years, since forming in 2020. It is the first GAA club in east Belfast since the 1950s and is one of the largest in the north, with more than 600 members, including over 200 playing at under-age level.

The club has faced threats and sectarian attacks many times before, most recently suffering an arson attack at its pitch as well as a hoax bomb attack.

Alliance councillor Michael Long said the images are “totally unacceptable and disgraceful”.

Unionist broadcaster Stephen Nolan has recently been accused of helping to whip up loyalist opposition to the club by referring to the IRA in a discussion about it. The club formally complained about a segment in late May on the show.

Close to the end of the segment, which was entirely on the subject of East Belfast GAA, Mr Nolan said: “Now we know that some clubs are associated with former members of the IRA, we know that, but we are in 2023, it’s a time to draw the line under things of the past and allow different sports in the capital city to be facilitated with pitches to play on.”

The caller replied “you brought up the subject” and then mentioned the name of a late former IRA leader in east Belfast.

The GAA has also become the subject of increased sectarian hate in Belfast since a plan was confirmed to host Euro 2028 football games at a Gaelic sports stadium in the city.

The future development of the stadium remains in doubt amid a unionist boycott of the Stormont political institutions over Brexit regulations.

After the plan for the redevelopment of Casement Park was criticised by the unionist media, a poll showed just 12% of unionists support it, compared to 94% of nationalists and 69% of other voters.

DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson has said his party is set to oppose the development of the west Belfast stadium without equal funding for other stadiums in more unionist areas.

“That is something we have been pressing the Government on and the Government is telling us there isn’t extra money, and yet if money is made available for Casement, I think that raises a lot of questions,” he said.

Sinn Féin vice president Michelle O’Neill has previously described the hosting of Euro 2028 games in Belfast and the Casement project as the “opportunity of a lifetime”.

She said: “The hosting of this prestigious tournament will grow our economy, create jobs, and showcase everything that makes our island and people amazing.”

Urgent Appeal

Despite increasing support for Irish freedom and unity, we need your help to overcome British and unionist intransigence. We can end the denial of our rights in relation to Brexit, the Irish language, a border poll and legacy issues, with your support.

Please support IRN now to help us continue reporting and campaigning for our national rights. Even one pound a month can make a big difference for us.

Your contribution can be made with a credit or debit card by clicking below. A continuing monthly donation of £2 or more will give you full access to this site. Thank you. Go raibh míle maith agat.

© 2023 Irish Republican News