12 November 2005

Anti-GAA posters erected in village

Belfast Telegraph

Move 'part of intimidation campaign'

12 November 2005

A FORMER All-Ireland camogie championship medal winner intimidated out of her home after her grandson wore an Antrim jersey last night condemned anti-GAA posters in a mainly Protestant Co Antrim village.

Around 30 posters declaring "No fascist GAA jerseys in Ahoghill" were erected overnight on bus shelters, road signs and other public property.

Nationalists said it was the latest incident in a campaign against Catholics in the village which saw several attacks on homes this summer.

Kathleen McCaughey (51), who won an All-Ireland medal in 1979 told how the campaign against her started after her 11-year-old grandson Nathan was playing hurling in her garden in the mainly Protestant Brookfield Gardens estate and was wearing an Antrim GAA top.

Mrs McCaughey, who now lives in nearby Portglenone, said: "The ball hit a car and we were told there would be none of that type of game here. We were told to go out to Cloney (nearby St Mary's GAA club) and play Gaelic if we wanted.

"My family had played hurley and camogie in the estate for years and Protestants used to come out and play with us too.

"The erection of these latest signs is only to keep the bother going in Ahoghill."

Sinn Fein Assembly member for North Antrim Philip McGuigan said he was "outraged and angry" after the posters appeared.

Mr McGuigan added: "I have been contacted by nationalist residents in Ahoghill who have woken to find posters erected warning people not to wear GAA jerseys in the town.

"It seems that this is the latest stage in the unionist campaign to force all Catholics and nationalists from the town. Over the summer this campaign used pipe bombs, paint bombs and violence to force innocent people from their homes.

"Ahoghill is home to a successful GAA club and this campaign is clearly aimed at that club, its members and the wider nationalist community in the area."

North Antrim DUP Assemblyman Mervyn Storey condemned the erection of the posters.

He said: "Any attempt to intimidate any section of the community isn't to be welcomed. Whilst I have reservations about the ethos of the GAA, I would not advocate this type of behaviour."

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