GAA & IFA promote Good Relations

October 31st, 2012

The Irish Football Association (IFA) and Ulster Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) have today come together to explore the impact of sport in building community relations. The Good Relations Forum was hosted in NICVA Offices in Belfast and was jointly organised by Ulster GAA and IFA, as part of the ‘Sport in the Community’ project which is funded by the Department for Social Development.

The Forum highlighted the role sports volunteers make to their communities and to wider society, and explored the role of sport in changing attitudes and building peace. The Forum also provided a platform for both Governing Bodies to showcase the good work they have undertaken in Community Relations in recent times.

University of Ulster lecturer Duncan Morrow provided his insights about the positive role sport can play in divided society, while a panel discussion including representatives from IFA, Ulster GAA, and Game of Three Halves, discussed the various challenges facing sporting organisations in building relations and working together to promote community development.

Ulster GAA President Aogán Ó Fearghail said, “Ulster GAA is delighted to continue our work with the IFA to help promote community development and improve community relations. There is no doubt sport plays a crucial part in building communities – it helps bring people together, gives citizens a sense of place, pride and belonging and can help break down barriers. Events such as this emphasises the strong relationship that has developed between the IFA and Ulster GAA and shows how we are working together for the betterment of their entire community.”

IFA President Jim Shaw stated, “This event has been a positive example of the learning that can be shared between both Associations. Both case studies have demonstrated a remarkable journey and should be commended for their efforts in building the capacity of their volunteers and for engaging with the local community.”

Minister for Social Development Nelson McCausland said, “I welcome the opportunity to be here today to celebrate the joint work that is being done by the IFA and GAA as part of the innovative “Sport in the Community” project, funded by my Department. This partnership working is providing opportunities for both organisations to share resources, skills and expertise in sport, and support in building volunteering capacity and community relations. My Department is also exploring opportunities with the Ulster Branch of the Irish Rugby Football Union which may enable them to join in this collaboration. I believe there are benefits for all concerned in extending this partnership. Volunteering plays a key role in supporting participation in sport at all levels and through the Department’s Volunteering Strategy I am keen to develop and add value to the existing contribution made by volunteers in the sports and community sectors.”

For Further Information:

Aileen Cummins (Ulster GAA): 07920528791 or
Jenny Penrose: 02890669458 or

Photo Caption: Ulster GAA and IFA host a Community Relations Forum today to explore the impact of sport in our communities. Keynote address was by Minister for Social Development Nelson McCausland. Pictured L to R: Jenny Penrose (IFA), Jim Shaw (IFA President), Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland, Martin McAviney (Ulster GAA Vice President), Ryan Feeney (Ulster GAA)