Friday 15 January 2010

Change of tune from Unionism

In April 2009 children from the St Comghall's GAA club in Antrim town, who were raising money by packing bags in the local Tesco supermarket were forced to remove their GAA tops as a result of complaints from bigots, including Antrim deputy mayor, the UUP's Adrian Watson.

Last night the same club, St Comghall's, was the victim of an attempted attack (mass murder) by loyalists. But on this occasion the now Mayor of Antrim – the same Adrian Watson – said it was a:

"... disgusting attack by mindless thugs who had nothing to offer the community. These are young men training in a community centre surrounded by hundreds of homes", and "they have done nothing wrong, bar being members of a GAA club".

Now, being charitable, it is likely that he did not mean that being members of a GAA club was 'wrong'. In which case, it represents a remarkable change of tune from unionism. Where previously they sang dumb when GAA property of members were attacked, or they actually carried out vicious (verbal) attacks themselves, now members of the unionist parties are actually volunteering condemnation of loyalist thugs for attacking the GAA.

The attack was also condemned by DUP MLA Trevor Clarke, so the condemnations appear to represent a new thinking within unionism rather than just a maverick comment by one person.

Is this evidence of a new less confrontational unionist approach to the GAA?


bangordub said...

Lets hope so Horseman.
Although "bar being members of a GAA club" is a bit ambiguous at best.
It strikes me that a power shift is taking place in the DUP away from the "Family dynasties".
The "Arlene Foster wing" is from much more mixed or increasingly nationalist areas.

Anonymous said...

Where does that leave the DUP if they continue to move towards the centre? A niche voting block will be left abondoned on the right ready for the TUV to capitalise on.

bangordub said...

I would think the DUP have already lost that vote to the TUV.
Outflanked to their right, just as the DUP did to the UUP, they have very little room to move unless they reinvent themselves OR, and this is a big if, they finally start to bring their constituency with them and are honest about the changing realities both demographically and electorally.
After the last week anything could happen!

Anonymous said...

Whatever the motivation, it's progress. Let's give him the benefit of the doubt and say fair play to him.

The DUP and UUP have made movements I never expected to see in my lifetime.

Although from a nationalist point of view the TUV may help us gain seats, and are to be welcomed, from a community relations point of view it's a pity their cancerous influence is still felt in NI. (For the sake of balance, the same applies to the dissidents btw.)

Anonymous said...

Ye, and The TUV have the good grace not to blow people apart.