GAA distances itself from Tyrone manager Mickey Harte’s pro-life campaign

Tyrone manager Mickey Harte. 'Picture by John Stafford/
Tyrone manager Mickey Harte. 'Picture by John Stafford/

The GAA has moved to distance itself from the launch of a pro-life campaign led by the Tyrone Gaelic football manager Mickey Harte.

A group of GAA stars led by Mr Harte launched the ‘GAA Athletes for a No Vote’ campaign in Dublin on Saturday.

Tyrone manager Mickey Harte is leading the GAA Athletes for a No Vote campaign

Tyrone manager Mickey Harte is leading the GAA Athletes for a No Vote campaign

It is opposed to the repeal of an amendment in the constitution of the Irish Republic which upholds strict abortion laws.

Irish voters will decide on May 25 whether or not to repeal the Eighth Amendment.

Antrim Gaelic footballer Patrick Gallagher and Derry camogie player Aoife Cassidy are also involved with GAA Athletes for a No Vote.

However, the GAA itself maintains a neutral stance on the abortion referendum and has written to its county secretaries informing them that the association should have no involvement in the referendum.

Launching the campaign, Mr Harte said in a statement: “Many young men and women are wondering how to vote.

“We ask them, before they do, to look at the values of our society, and to look at the country we live in today. We value everybody in our organisation, from the brightest stars to the child with a disability. We value them because we are a caring and compassionate society that says that every one of us has the right to fulfil our potential.

“We respect and cherish women. We support them, and we believe that as a society, we have much more, so much more, to offer our women than the death of their children. We are asking people to vote NO.”

The GAA has now issued a statement outlining its official policy of neutrality on the debate

A spokesperson said: “The GAA is a non-party organisation whose individual members may, of course, decide to take positions on political issues in accordance with their own personal views and commitments.

“As an association, however, the GAA does not take a position, or comment in any way, on either elections or referenda.”

Alan Milton, communications director for the GAA, told BBC Radio Ulster’s TalkBack programme yesterday morning: “The event on Saturday took place in a public park that had nothing to do with the GAA.

“We’ve written to all our club units and county units this morning (Monday) to remind them of their responsibilities in adhering to rules .”