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GAA urged to continue working towards attracting Protestants

 

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The GAA has been encouraged to continue to have conversations about attracting members of the Protestant community to the sport. (stock photo)

The GAA has been encouraged to continue to have conversations about attracting members of the Protestant community to the sport. (stock photo)

PA Archive/Press Association Images

The GAA has been encouraged to continue to have conversations about attracting members of the Protestant community to the sport. (stock photo)

The GAA has been encouraged to continue to have conversations about attracting members of the Protestant community to the sport.

That's the message from Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey, who has praised the Irish FA on the work they have done to change perceptions about the Northern Ireland team and declared that sport has the power to bring people together unlike other facets of life.

Asked what the GAA can do in an attempt to bring Protestants on board, she said: "I think the GAA have been running a number of outreach programmes, whether that is in schools or having tours of their facilities.

"There is always more work to be done. We are a society emerging from a conflict and obviously there has been hurt and pain. There has been division as a result of that conflict and there's conversations around where our future lies.

"Whether it is the GAA, soccer or rugby, we all have a part to play in reaching out and having mutual understanding. Sometimes that can be to agree to disagree. It's how we do that.

"Sport has the power to bring people together in a way that is not as threatening and in a way that builds confidence.

"All sports, including the GAA, can have a positive role to play in engaging young people in sport. I would imagine the GAA would be encouraged to keep those conversations going even if at times they are difficult conversations because sometimes that is when you can have the greatest result and understanding.

"I would encourage them along with all the other sporting codes, and we have seen that at Windsor and the IFA and the good work they have been doing, to change perceptions and the narrative."

Belfast Telegraph