GAA management must ensure its branding isn’t used for political causes supporting IRA violence

19th February 2021 - Regina Doherty

GAA’s Management Committee must ensure its branding cannot be used by individuals to advance political causes which support IRA violence, a Fine Gael Senator has said.

Regina Doherty, Leader of Seanad Éireann, was speaking after an online event commemorating an IRA bomber, which was supported by Sinn Féin and due to take place last night, was cancelled.

Edward O’Brien was killed after a bomb he was carrying detonated on a bus in London 25 years ago, injuring several people.

Senator Doherty said, “It is troubling that this online commemoration to mark the anniversary of the death of Edward O’Brien was supported by Sinn Féin in Wexford.

“This matter was raised in the Seanad today and I welcomed the fact that common sense prevailed, and the event was cancelled at the request of the family given the senseless act of violence perpetrated by Edward O’Brien in the name of the IRA.

“An image had been circulated online by a Sinn Féin councillor of a commemorative plaque with an image of Mr O’Brien beside the Wexford GAA logo.

“The GAA is an apolitical organisation and its branding, both at national and county club level, should not be affiliated with political parties or causes in this manner.

“I welcome the fact that Wexford GAA said that the use of its logo in this way will be discussed at their next meeting, and said the Wexford GAA name and logo should not be used in any way without written permission from them.

“But there is a role here for GAA’s Management Committee to look into this as its official slogans should not be used to advance a political agenda which supports IRA violence.

“Online notices had also described Edward O’Brien as a member of Óglaigh na hÉireann, the Irish language name for the Defence Forces of the State.

“It is wrong and unacceptable that the term Óglaigh na hÉireann would be used by the IRA to describe its paramilitaries and those responsible for orchestrating violence. It is a far cry from the honourable work carried out by our Defence Forces to protect their country,” Senator Doherty concluded.

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