Page last updated at 09:20 GMT, Tuesday, 18 August 2009 10:20 UK

McCausland slams H-Block event

Nelson McCausland
Nelson McCausland said the use of a sports ground was inappropriate

Sports Minister Nelson McCausland has criticised the staging of a hunger strike commemoration at a GAA ground.

It took place at Galbally, County Tyrone, after a procession on Sunday.

Speaking as a DUP MLA, he said: "It cannot be right that a sports ground should be used for commemorating and celebrating something as offensive as the whole H-Block episode."

Sinn Fein MLA Barry McElduff said there were no alternative venues for the rural, largely republican community.

"We were remembering, not terrorists but inspirational, politically-motivated Irish hunger strikers," said Mr McElduff, who was speaking in a party capacity rather than as chairman of the assembly's culture, arts and leisure committee.

"Many young people are curious to know the story of these hunger strikers who laid down their lives for Irish freedom."

However, Mr McCausland said the event was a breach of the GAA's rule 7a, which states the organisation should be non-party political.

"People will be disappointed to see a sports ground used for such a political event which glorifies Irish republican terrorism," he said.

He added: "The event in Tyrone was a retrograde step and I think it has reinforced division and political sectarianism."

Breach of the GAA's rule 7a carries a penalty of up to 24 weeks' suspension.

A GAA spokesperson said they had no comment to make on the matter.

The parade was staged near the home of IRA hunger striker Martin Hurson, who died in the Maze Prison in July 1981.

Print Sponsor

McCausland holds Gaeltacht talks
09 Jul 09 |  Northern Ireland
GAA tickets refusal is 'childish'
01 Sep 06 |  Northern Ireland
GAA 'bashed for political gain'
16 Aug 06 |  Northern Ireland
Stadium rally 'politicised sport'
14 Aug 06 |  Northern Ireland
Hunger strikes: 25 years on
05 May 06 |  Northern Ireland

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2020 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific