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Last Updated: Friday, 1 September 2006, 17:00 GMT 18:00 UK
GAA tickets refusal is 'childish'
Martin McGuinness said he intends to be at the game
Martin McGuinness said he intends to be at the game
Sinn Fein has accused the GAA of acting "childishly" in refusing them tickets for the All-Ireland football finals.

The sporting body took the decision following Sinn Fein's decision to go ahead with a hunger strike rally at the Casement Park GAA ground in Belfast.

It was held in defiance of a ruling by GAA authorities in Dublin.

Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness said he intended to be at the football final and had been inundated by offers of tickets from clubs all over Ireland.

The All-Ireland senior football final between Mayo and Kerry will take place at Croke Park in Dublin on 17 September.

Mr McGuinness, who called the refusal of tickets "childish", said: "I'm going to be at the game and I think it's important to put it on the record the fact that Sinn Fein doesn't apply for these tickets.

"Individual Sinn Fein elected representatives apply for these tickets and I'm sure that many of them who were denied tickets from GAA headquarters will be very, very disappointed.

Hunger strike rally
The rally commemorated the hunger strikes at the Maze prison

"But already, this morning, I have been inundated by offers from GAA clubs all over the island of Ireland with offers of tickets for the final.

"You can be sure that the Sinn Fein leadership and the Sinn Fein organisation... will be well represented at that final."

Last month, hundreds of former republican prisoners and supporters gathered at a rally in the Casement Park ground, off the Andersonstown Road, to mark the 25th anniversary of the republican hunger strikes.

Ten IRA and INLA inmates died in the protest over political status at the Maze prison in County Antrim.

Relatives of the hunger strikers were among the platform speakers.

Leading figures from the republican movement were also among those at the rally.

There had been some criticism of the GAA in County Antrim for allowing the event to take place at one of its sports grounds.

Casement Park comes under the jurisdiction of the GAA's Antrim County Board and it is understood it did not object to the rally.

However, the GAA's Central Council in Dublin had discussed the matter and agreed that the Casement Park rally would break the organisation's rules about staging political events.


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Ticket furore over hunger strike rally



SEE ALSO
Hunger strikes: 25 years on
05 May 06 |  Northern Ireland
What happened in the hunger strike?
05 May 06 |  Northern Ireland
March honours IRA hunger strikers
27 May 01 |  Scotland

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