Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 31 July 2014

Lo's GAA comments show she is out of touch

I have always believed that the Alliance Party are truly out of touch with the realities of Northern Ireland.

And, while I don't particularly agree with the potential underlying message of Jim Wells' complaint against the GAA being involved in bag-packing, I was disappointed to read Anna Lo's comments. Apparently, Ms Lo believes that "the GAA is a sporting organisation that does much work in the community". Clearly, on page one of its rules and regulations, the GAA nails its colours to the mast of political Irish nationalism and the pursuit of a 32-county Irish republic.

The GAA has no issue with this and, in a democracy, neither do I. But I do have a problem if such an organisation seeks to collect money from the general public without making clear to whom the money is going.

For example, what if a far-Right group were to do the same, concealing their identity? Even if the money was going to a reputable and laudable charity, would Ms Lo defend their right to do so?

I would hope not. I would expect the likes of Ms Lo to take a robust stand for openness and transparency.

Sadly, her knee-jerk reaction, defending the indefensible, is misjudged and ill-advised.

In Northern Ireland, we must accept that, no matter how laudable some organisations are, by virtue of their political outlook, they are not accepted by the whole community.

ULTONIAN

Portadown, Co Armagh

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