John Horan: ‘Pretty Clear’ Where The GAA Stand On Border Poll

John Horan football championship

GAA president, John Horan has given the clearest indication yet on where the association would fall should a border poll on Irish unity come to fruition.

The subject has been discussed at great length in the past number of weeks after former Armagh captain, Jarlath Burns, stated that the nature of the GAA’s official guide meant it would take the position to rid Ireland of partition if the such a poll were to ever occur.

The discussion around Irish unity and border polls have reached fever pitch in the last 18-months as the United Kingdom look to follow through with their Brexit plans which could potentially harm north/south relations if there is indeed a ‘hard border’ as so many have suggested.

A ‘hard border’ could potentially wreak havoc on the GAA with TV rights and border checkpoints being the two big areas that could see fans suffer.

Speaking at the launch of a pitch project in the Limavady Wolfhounds club in Derry, Horan reiterated that the GAA views itself as a 32-county organisation and therefore their stance is pretty clear.

“We look upon ourselves as a 32-county organisation, so I think it’s pretty clear where the GAA would stand if such a poll came.” Horan told The Irish News.

“It’s somewhat speculative, there’s not even a hint of a date or timing or anything like that, so we just need to wait and see what happens.”

If Brexit is to eventually go through then it could cause serious problems for GAA in the North. Every year the Ulster Championship final is played in Clones, Monaghan which lies in the Republic of Ireland and going back through generations teams from both the Republic and Northern Ireland have been able to travel freely across borders to attend games.

Last year’s final between Donegal and Fermanagh saw the Tir Conaill men cross the border into Northern Ireland in order to make it to Clones, while Fermanagh supporters also crossed the border into Monaghan to attend the game.

Horan expressed that these are legitimate concerns going forward, however, they are ultimately outside of the GAA’s control.

“Even you take it myself coming up here. I was able to sit in the car and say, ‘right, that’s the length of time I am driving and I will get there’ because there are no roadblocks or checkpoints coming up the road.

“There’s no point us exercising energy on this at the moment. For the very good reason, I was listening to it on the radio coming up, nobody knows what is going to happen, so we will just have to wait and see.

“It would be a disaster to have to revert back to what went on before, but we will exert as much influence as we can. At the same time, I think it’s ultimately above us, in a way.”


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