Belfast Telegraph

Antrim GAA star defends his stance on abortion vote

By Luke Byrne

A Gaelic star in Northern Ireland has vowed to continue campaigning for a no vote in the Republic's referendum on abortion - even as the GAA insisted it's a non-political organisation.

Antrim footballer Patrick Gallagher was among those to join the group GAA Athletes for a No Vote at its launch over the weekend.

Tyrone GAA manager Mickey Harte has given his backing to the group, saying the public faced a choice of voting for a "culture of death or a culture of life" in the forthcoming referendum.

Mr Gallagher said he believed the GAA's "spirit of inclusion in society" should be extended to unborn babies.

Over the weekend, the GAA wrote to the secretaries of the 32 counties telling them it is an organisation that should have no political involvement.

In a statement yesterday, the GAA reiterated this position, but said individual members may decide to take positions on political issues.

"The GAA shouldn't be political, counties and clubs shouldn't be involved, the association shouldn't have a position," Mr Gallagher said.

"I don't feel that is applicable to us because we are a group of members coming together with similar views."

He said they were acting as private individuals who are connected by the fact they are GAA players.

"I've always been strongly pro-life," he said.

"To get involved in this campaign specifically, I was talking to a few people involved with the different campaigns for no.

"And we speak about how the GAA has community spirit and inclusion and we really feel that this inclusion should involve everyone in society, including the unborn.

"There's better answers, so we should come together as a GAA community, as members of a great association, as a country, and provide better answers for people, for women," he added.

He said no official has asked him to stop campaigning, nor has commented to him on his public stance.

Belfast Telegraph

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