Ulster GAA Director Danny Murphy and Senior Ulster GAA Official Ryan Feeney met with Presbyterian Moderator Dr Norman Hamilton and Rev Dr Lesley Carroll, convener of the Presbyterian Church and Society Committee on Monday 10th January; this was the first meeting between the GAA and the Church.
Among the topics discussed during 2 hour meeting which began at 3.30pm were the history and organisation of the GAA and the Presbyterian Church and how both are making contributions towards building a shared future. Commenting after the meeting Dr Hamilton said “Today’s meeting was typical of many I have in order to engage with organisations which are part of the social and cultural fabric of our society. I was pleased to accept the invitation from the Ulster Council of the GAA to learn more about their organisation and discuss the role of sport in a divided community. While for historic and cultural reasons the GAA has limited appeal to Presbyterians in Northern Ireland, many of our members in the Republic have a passionate commitment to their local GAA club. Achieving a shared and better future for everyone is an aspiration to which we all can subscribe and is a challenge that I am sure both the Presbyterian Church and the GAA are able to meet.”
Danny Murphy commented: “Ulster GAA are committed to playing our part in the development of shared and better future for everyone built on mutual respect and tolerance. Dr. Hamilton and Rev Dr. Carroll were very welcome to our headquarters and the discussion was warm, friendly, very positive and constructive. I look forward to further developing mutually beneficial links with the Church.”
Ulster GAA President Aogan Ó Fearghail was pleased that the meeting took place and highlighted it’s importance, “Ulster GAA were pleased to welcome the Moderator and his colleagues to Ceannarás Uladh, the headquarters of the Ulster Council. This was an important meeting which I hope will the first in a series of engagements with the Presbyterian Church as part of the ongoing Ulster GAA community outreach and engagement project.”