Rule 21

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Rule 21 of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) was a rule in force from 1897 to 2001 which banned members of the British security forces from membership of the GAA and thus from playing Gaelic games. The affected organisations included the British Armed Forces and the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC), and prior to partition the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) and Dublin Metropolitan Police. As well as the RUC in Northern Ireland, it also applied to police forces in Great Britain, which affected London GAA and the other British GAA affiliates. Rule 21 stated: [1] [2]

Gaelic Athletic Association Irish amateur sporting and cultural organisation

The Gaelic Athletic Association is an Irish international amateur sporting and cultural organisation, focused primarily on promoting indigenous Gaelic games and pastimes, which include the traditional Irish sports of hurling, camogie, Gaelic football, Gaelic handball and rounders. The association also promotes Irish music and dance, as well as the Irish language.

Security Forces is an umbrella term frequently used to describe statutory organisations with internal security mandates. In the legal context of several nations, the term has variously denoted police and military units working in concert, or the role of military and paramilitary forces tasked with the internal provision of public security.

Gaelic games Set of sports originating, and mainly played, on the island of Ireland

Gaelic games are sports played in Ireland under the auspices of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA). Gaelic football and hurling are the two main games. Other games organised by the GAA include Gaelic handball and rounders.

Contents

Members of the British armed forces or police shall not be eligible for membership of the Association.
A member of the Association participating in dances, or similar entertainment, promoted by or under the patronage of such bodies, shall incur suspension of at least three months.

The rule was abolished after the establishment of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) as part of the Northern Ireland peace process.

Police Service of Northern Ireland police service for Northen Ireland

The Police Service of Northern Ireland is the police force that serves Northern Ireland. It is the successor to the Royal Ulster Constabulary after it was reformed and renamed in 2001 on the recommendation of the Patten Report.

The Northern Ireland peace process is often considered to cover the events leading up to the 1994 Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) ceasefire, the end of most of the violence of the Troubles, the Good Friday Agreement of 1998, and subsequent political developments.

Origin

Rule 21 was introduced in 1897 and reflected the rise of "advanced nationalism", with the GAA and other Irish nationalist organisations founded in the Gaelic revival becoming more politicised and separatist in the build-up to the revolutionary period. [3] [4] It was intended to allay fears that RIC members were joining GAA clubs to spy on members' political activities. [3] It was overshadowed by the introduction in 1901 of Rule 27, commonly called "The Ban", which prohibited GAA members from playing "foreign games" like soccer and rugby union. [4] [5] [6] In 1938 Douglas Hyde, recently inaugurated as first President of Ireland, was removed as Patron of the GAA after attending an Irish soccer international. [4] After Rule 27 was abolished in 1971, it was Rule 21 and Rule 42, which prohibited foreign games being played at GAA grounds, which were the focus of debate. [5] [7]

Irish nationalism Political movement asserting the sovereignty of the Irish people

Irish nationalism is a nationalist political movement which asserts that the Irish people are a nation and espouses the creation of a sovereign Irish nation-state on the island of Ireland. Irish nationalism celebrates the culture of Ireland, especially the Irish language, literature, music, and sports. It grew more potent during the period in which all of Ireland was part of the United Kingdom, which led to most of the island seceding from the UK in 1921.

Gaelic revival resurgence ot interest in the Irish language in the 19th century

The Gaelic revival was the late-nineteenth-century national revival of interest in the Irish language and Irish Gaelic culture. Irish had diminished as a spoken tongue, remaining the main daily language only in isolated rural areas, with English having become the dominant language in the majority of Ireland.

A common definition of separatism is that it is the advocacy of a state of cultural, ethnic, tribal, religious, racial, governmental or gender separation from the larger group. While it often refers to full political secession, separatist groups may seek nothing more than greater autonomy. While some critics may equate separatism with religious segregation, racist segregation, or sexist segregation, most separatists argue that separation by choice may serve useful purposes and is not the same as government-enforced segregation. There is some academic debate about this definition, and in particular how it relates to secessionism, as has been discussed online.

Northern Ireland

After the 1922 creation of the Irish Free State, Rule 21 continued to apply in Northern Ireland. Its strongest supporters were physical force republicans, and during the Troubles the GAA was suspected by many unionists of collusion with the Provisional IRA and other paramilitaries. [8] [6] While some advocates of Rule 21 were opposed to any engagement with "Crown forces", others linked it to alleged targeting by the security forces of the GAA, in particular the occupation of part of Crossmaglen Rangers' grounds by a British Army base, which disrupted matches and other events there. [9] One player affected by the ban was Brian McCargo from Ardoyne, who played for Antrim county team before being obliged to quit in 1969 after joining the RUC Reserve, during a period after the abolition of the B Specials when some Catholic community leaders were encouraging Catholics to join the revised force. [10] Sean McNulty from Warrenpoint won an All-Ireland minor medal in 1977 but joined the RUC in 1982. [11] The Sports Council for Northern Ireland and Northern Ireland Department of Education made funding grants to GAA bodies while Rule 21 was in force, but at a lower level than would otherwise have been the case. [12]

Irish Free State Sovereign state in northwest Europe (1922–1937), Dominion status to 1922, succeeded by Ireland

The Irish Free State was a state established in 1922 under the Anglo-Irish Treaty of December 1921. That treaty ended the three-year Irish War of Independence between the forces of the self-proclaimed Irish Republic, the Irish Republican Army (IRA), and British Crown forces.

Physical force Irish republicanism (PFIR) is the recurring appearance of a non-parliamentary violent insurrection in Ireland between 1798 and the present. It is often described as a rival to parliamentary nationalism which for most of the period drew the predominant amount of support from Irish nationalists.

The Troubles Ethno-political conflict in Northern Ireland

The Troubles was an ethno-nationalist conflict in Northern Ireland during the late 20th century. Also known internationally as the Northern Ireland conflict and the Irish conflict it is sometimes described as an "irregular war" or "low-level war". The conflict began in the late 1960s and is usually deemed to have ended with the Good Friday Agreement of 1998. Although the Troubles primarily took place in Northern Ireland, at times the violence spilled over into parts of the Republic of Ireland, England, and mainland Europe.

Abolition

During the Northern Ireland peace process, abolishing Rule 21 was advocated by unionists, political leaders in the Republic, and the Independent Commission on Policing in Northern Ireland, whose report led to the replacement of the RUC by the PSNI. [8] [13] This was for two reasons: to boost nationalist trust of the police, and to improve unionist trust of the GAA. Nationalists were underrepresented in the RUC, contributing to a self-sustaining cycle of mistrust of it as unionist-biased; on the other hand, unionists saw Rule 21 as evidence of the GAA's support for republican violence. If the GAA ended its prohibition on membership, a reformed police force would be more likely to attract nationalist recruits. The prospect of unionist police officers joining the GAA was not a major consideration. [11]

Republic of Ireland Country in Europe on the island of Ireland

Ireland, also known as the Republic of Ireland, is a country in north-western Europe occupying 26 of 32 counties of the island of Ireland. The capital and largest city is Dublin, which is located on the eastern side of the island. Around a third of the country's population of 4.9 million people resides in the greater Dublin area. The sovereign state shares its only land border with Northern Ireland, a part of the United Kingdom. It is otherwise surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the Celtic Sea to the south, St George's Channel to the south-east, and the Irish Sea to the east. It is a unitary, parliamentary republic. The legislature, the Oireachtas, consists of a lower house, Dáil Éireann, an upper house, Seanad Éireann, and an elected President who serves as the largely ceremonial head of state, but with some important powers and duties. The head of government is the Taoiseach, who is elected by the Dáil and appointed by the President; the Taoiseach in turn appoints other government ministers.

Motions at the GAA congress to change a given rule can only be raised once every three years and require a two-thirds majority of delegates. [14] Motion 43 submitted to the 1995 annual congress proposed to remove Rule 21, but was withdrawn before any debate. [14] [15] As a compromise for withdrawing motion 43, congress agreed that a special congress could be called in future purely to vote on Rule 21. [14] Such a congress was held in the Burlington Hotel on 30 May 1998, shortly after the Good Friday Agreement. [16] After a debate closed to the public, it rejected immediate abolition due to strong opposition from the Ulster Council, but resolved to remove it "when effective steps are taken to implement amended structures and policing arrangements envisaged in the British/Irish peace agreement". [8] [16] [2] [1] Another special congress in Citywest abolished it, on 17 November 2001, two weeks after the PSNI was established. [1] [17] Seán McCague, the GAA president, was personally in favour and all delegates from the Republic supported abolition; although only Down GAA of the six Northern Ireland counties voted in favour, the Ulster delegates felt the establishment of the PSNI had sufficiently altered the situation not to make more than a token objection. [18] [1] A poll of Northern nationalists found that 57% supported abolition, with 25% opposed. [19]

Burlington Hotel (Dublin) Hotel in Dublin, Ireland

The Clayton Hotel Burlington Road, known as the Burlington Hotel, is a hotel in Dublin, Ireland. Opened in 1972 and nicknamed "the Burlo" by Dubliners, it is the largest hotel in central Dublin, and the second largest in County Dublin after the CityWest Hotel.

The Good Friday Agreement (GFA) or Belfast Agreement was a major political development in the Northern Ireland peace process of the 1990s. Northern Ireland's present devolved system of government is based on the agreement. The agreement also created a number of institutions between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, and between the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom.

The Ulster Council is a Provincial council of the Gaelic Athletic Association sports of hurling, Gaelic football, camogie, and handball in the province of Ulster. The headquarters of the Ulster GAA is based in Armagh City.

The British Universities GAA joined the British Universities Sports Association in February 2002; its application had been rejected five times before the abolition of Rule 21. [20] A PSNI GAA club was founded in 2002 and since that year has played an annual Gaelic football match against the Garda GAA for the Thomas St George McCarthy Cup, called after an RIC officer who was a founder member of the GAA in 1884. [21] After Ronan Kerr was killed in 2011 by dissident republicans, his Beragh Red Knights GAC teammates bore his coffin before passing it to his PSNI colleagues. [22] In 2015, the British army regiment, the Irish Guards formed Irish Guards GAA to take part in London junior championships. [23]

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References

  1. 1 2 3 4 Breheny, Martin (19 November 2001). "Rule 21 goes quietly into history books". Irish Independent . Retrieved 25 August 2015.
  2. 1 2 "GAA's Rule 21: November 17, 2001". Irish Independent . 18 January 2014. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
  3. 1 2 Bushe, Andrew (16 February 2011). "GAA delegates vote to allow cops, soldiers". Irish Echo . Retrieved 26 August 2015.
  4. 1 2 3 "Articles on the history of the GAA > The Removal of Douglas Hyde as Patron of the Association, 1938". Library & Archive. GAA Museum. Archived from the original on 5 September 2015. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
  5. 1 2 Sweeney, Eamonn (2012-10-04). O'Brien Pocket History of Gaelic Sport. O'Brien Press. pp. 11–13. ISBN   9781847175212 . Retrieved 25 August 2015.
  6. 1 2 Nauright, John (2012-04-06). "Gaelic Athletic Association". Sports around the World: History, Culture, and Practice. ABC-CLIO. pp. 91–92. ISBN   9781598843019 . Retrieved 25 August 2015.
  7. Finegan, Shane (27 May 2011). "The role played by Tom Woulfe in the campaign (1959–1971) to remove the Ban on Foreign Games (Rule 27) from the rulebook of the GAA" (PDF). Winners of Secondary School Essay Competition. GAA. Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 September 2015. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
  8. 1 2 3 Cronin, Mike (Fall 1999). "Ignoring Postcolonialism: The Gaelic Athletic Association and the Language of Colony". Jouvert: A Journal of Postcolonial Studies. North Carolina State University: College of the Humanities and Social Sciences. 4 (1: Ireland 2000). Retrieved 25 August 2015.
  9. Hassan, D. (2005). "The Gaelic Athletic Association, Rule 21, and Police Reform in Northern Ireland". Journal of Sport & Social Issues. 29 (1): 60–78. doi:10.1177/0193723504268731. ISSN   0193-7235.
  10. "No regrets as a Catholic in the RUC". BBC Online . 21 December 2001. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
  11. 1 2 "Support divided as GAA consider lifting controversial rule 21 ban". The Irish Times . 17 November 2001. Retrieved 26 August 2015. few seriously believe British soldiers or members of Northern Ireland's brand new police service will be queuing up outside GAA clubs after the weekend
  12. Sugden, John; Scott Harvie (1995). "Sport and Community Relations in Northern Ireland". CAIN. pp. 1.5.2 – Gaelic Sport. Retrieved 25 August 2015. Official funding for the GAA has been forthcoming through the Department of Education for Northern Ireland (DENI) and the Sports Council for Northern Ireland but has been limited by the continued existence of Rule 21 which excludes members of Northern Ireland’s security forces from joining.(24) This rule means that Gaelic organisations are treated by the government as clubs with restricted membership. As such they are only entitled to between 50% and 33.5% grant aid towards the cost of facilities development.
  13. Independent Commission On Policing For Northern Ireland (9 September 1999). "Recruitment" (PDF). A New Beginning: Policing in Northern Ireland - The Report of the Independent Commission on Policing in Northern Ireland. p. 89; §15.2. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
  14. 1 2 3 Moran, Sean (4 January 1996). "Central Council hold key to new Rule 21 debate". The Irish Times . Retrieved 25 August 2015.
  15. "Will Rule 21 Be Debated at GAA Congress?". RTÉ Archives. RTÉ. 1995. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
  16. 1 2 "1998". Chronology of the Conflict. CAIN. pp. Saturday 30 May 1998. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
  17. "Chronology of the Conflict 2001". CAIN. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
  18. Foley, Cliona (30 October 2001). "GAA set to decommission Rule 21". Irish Independent . Retrieved 25 August 2015.
  19. "GAA faces North-South battle on move to drop security forces ban". The Irish Times . 27 May 1998. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
  20. Darby, Paul; Hassan, David (2013-10-18). Emigrant Players: Sport and the Irish Diaspora. Routledge. p. 87. ISBN   9781317968450 . Retrieved 26 August 2015.
  21. "PSNI lined up for historic Croker date with Garda". Belfast Telegraph . 9 November 2009. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
  22. Moriarty, Gerry (7 April 2011). "Symbolism potent as local GAA club members pass coffin to police officers". The Irish Times . Retrieved 25 August 2015.
  23. "GAA accepts first British Army team". BBC News. 2015-09-15.