On this blog on 8 December 2009 I referred to a republican commemoration in Londonderry on 6 December to remember the deaths of four IRA terrorists.
The republican commemoration also included a wreath laying ceremony at an IRA memorial and a Gaelic football match between Na Piarsaigh CLG and Sean Dolan’s GAC at Celtic Park in Londonderry. Celtic Park is the main ground of Derry County Board of the GAA.’
This post was based on an article in the Sinn Fein newspaper An Phoblacht, dated 10 December 2009, which said that the republican commemoration programme included a challenge match ‘between two of Derry’s foremost football clubs’.
Later that afternoon two of Derry’s foremost football clubs played a challenge match for the Cú Chulainn Cup. In a hard fought match held in wind swept conditions the Waterside based Pearse’s edged out the Creggan men by a point.
It was also based on an article in the Derry Journal on 4 December:
The day of events will include a wreath-laying ceremony at the republican monument in Rose Court in the Waterside at 1pm , which will be followed by a Gaelic match between Na Piarsaigh and Sean Dolan’s at Celtic Park at 2pm.
Since then I have received a communication from the public affairs manager of the Ulster section of the GAA. He says that he has discussed this matter with both the Celtic Park and Derry GAA Committees and officials from these bodies have stated that the match in question was a scheduled fixture which was played as part of the Derry GAA programme and that this match had no link to any other event taking place in Londonderry that day.
He added that ‘if there was a link made to this fixture by another outside group then it was done without the knowledge or permission of the GAA and we will be further investigating this matter. No commemorative or political event of any kind was held on GAA property namely Celtic Park and no GAA official unit was involved in organisation of the event that was outlined in the Minister’s blog.’
He also stated that no request was made to Derry GAA or Ulster Council GAA at any stage for any event of any kind to take place at Celtic Park.
I welcome this statement from the GAA. The focus is now back on Sinn Fein and they have to explain the reports in An Phoblacht and the Derry Journal. What did happen on Sunday 6 December? Who issued the press statement to the Derry Journal? Following on the GAA denial, how do Sinn Fein explain it all away?