Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 23 November 2014

You can trust us, says GAA chief Paraic Duffy

GAA Director General Paraic Duffy
GAA Director General Paraic Duffy

The most powerful man in GAA says he wishes his association to become a vehicle for building better cross-community relations here.

And Director-General Paraic Duffy has outlined a future where all unionists could feel entirely comfortable taking part in GAA activities.

In an exclusive interview published over the next two days in the Belfast Telegraph, Duffy also expresses a hope that in time, a solution can be found for unionists who would have difficulty with the playing of the Irish national anthem or flying of the tricolour.

"I can understand how that would cause difficulty for a lot of people; it's something that I would hope through time that a solution could be found eventually," said Duffy (right).

"It's not going to happen overnight, or even in the next five years, but I think for the GAA in Ulster, go back say 10 years, there has been huge progress. And go another 10 or 20 years from now, I do believe we will find a way to resolve those kind of issues as well. If we want to do it, we will. The worst thing we could do is force it. That would be divisive."

Duffy also hailed the appearance of First Minister Peter Robinson at last year's McKenna Cup final and the historic 'Match for Michaela' as steps towards a mutually-beneficial future, and reveals that in recent years a number of senior loyalist figures have been guests at All-Ireland GAA events in Croke Park, although their attendance has been deliberately kept low-key.

"The efforts some have made over the last few years have been genuine – and made with the full support of Croke Park," he said.

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