RSF ‘nonsense’ over GAA ‘sell-out’

By Ciara Quinn

REPUBLICAN Sinn Féin have been accused of talking “nonsense” after an astonishing attack on the GAA during the party’s Easter commemoration at Milltown Cemetery on Sunday. The party, which is aligned to the Continuity IRA, which burned a digger at Casement Park two years ago after contractors working  on the Andersonstown stadium refused to pay protection money, acused the GAA of “selling out” by accepting “English money” to redevelop Casement Park.

In its annual statement to mark the 1916 Easter Rising, RSF Vice-President Geraldine Taylor said the GAA had “sold out its independence and the ideals of its founders when it accepted a massive amount of English money – £61 million – to develop Casement Park in Belfast.”

“Rodger Casement got the English hangman’s rope but those who use his name allow themselves to be exploited by Stormont, just as others contribute to the city of Derry – historic Doire Cholm Cille – being the British City of Culture in 2013. Those who pay the piper undoubtedly call the tune.

Speaking to the Andersonstown News yesterday, Geraldine Taylor, who delivered the statement on behalf of the RSF leadership, said: “Sinn Féin are using the good name of Roger Casement, who was hanged in an English jail to accept blood money from England. They have forgotten our past, where is the pride in that?

“Sinn Féin are well paid for what they doing yet our hospitals are in disarray, A&Es are closing and people are losing their homes, they are crying out for help and no-one is helping them.”

Reacting to the Republican Sinn Féin Easter statement, West Belfast Sinn Féin MLA Pat Sheehan dismissed it as “nonsense”.

“The funding for Casement Park isn’t some privilege or bribe – it is an entitlement that the GAA deserve. Irish cultural organisations have historically been underfunded – in fact it’s fair to say that some have never received funding before. The fact that Sinn Féin sit on the Executive and the Assembly is ensuring that this balance is redressed.

“RSF’s statement just shows the bankruptcy of the complete negativity that exists within the party. What are they going to criticise next? Funding for Irish language groups? Irish medium education? The Gaeltacht Quarter?

“In contrast to their negativity, the GAA is a shining light within our communities. It would do them no harm to go around some of the clubs in West Belfast on a Saturday or Sunday morning to see the leadership that the GAA provides to our young people, they are making facilities available for our young people to develop them and provide them with friendships,” he said.

Mr Sheehan said that all Republican Sinn Féin have to offer is negativity and destruction.

“That’s why they are on the complete margins of society.

“No-one wants them, no-one wants to listen to their message – it’s an absolute nonsense and they have nothing positive to offer in contrast to the GAA.

“Casement Park is one in a number of investments going into West Belfast over the coming years, it’s one of the biggest investments ever into Andersonstown and will provide our young people with jobs and our local businesses with extra footfall. Of course RSF don’t want this.”

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