Mystery over future of Co Antrim GAA club’s ‘IRA gates’

The grounds of Glenariffe Oisin GAA club at Cushendall are named after IRA men Charlie McAllister and Pat McVeigh who were killed in a shoot out in 1922
The grounds of Glenariffe Oisin GAA club at Cushendall are named after IRA men Charlie McAllister and Pat McVeigh who were killed in a shoot out in 1922

Concerns have been raised that a Co Antrim GAA club which was granted £180,000 for a new shared community centre will not be required to move entrance gates bearing the name of two IRA men.

Causeway Coast and Glens Council voted on Tuesday to approve the cash for the new centre at Glenariffe Oisin GAA at Cushendall.

However, the name of the grounds on which the centre is to be built is ‘McAllister & McVeigh Memorial Park’ named after two IRA men killed in a shoot-out with B-Specials in 1922.

The DUP blocked the grant earlier this year, but when it came before council on Tuesday it was approved 19 votes to 11. Six UUP councillors supported the application and three opposed.

DUP councillor Trevor Clarke said that although he had challenged the funding policy, it was also approved by the same margin on Tuesday night.

“There is no claw-back facility and no undertaking was given that the gates would be moved,” he said.

“There is great disappointment with the UUP hypocrisy in supporting this grant – in stark contrast to their opposition of the naming of a Newry playground after an IRA man.”

Asked if he thought the gates would be moved, Mr Clarke replied: “I really don’t know.”

It was reported this week that Glenariffe Oisin chairman Edward Haughey and two team managers resigned as a result of an internal vote in which members opted to move the gates.

However, in a statement issued by the club, Mr Haughey denied he had resigned over the matter.

“Due to work and personal commitments I cannot provide the considerable time required to oversee the development and growth of Glenariffe CLG at this time,” he said.

“I wish the club well with its plans to develop a new community facility and I remain a supportive member.”

Independent councillor Paidraig McShane claimed the club’s vote might be challenged on grounds it did not follow procedure on informing members in advance. The club offered no further comment.

A UUP spokesman hit back that the DUP supported granting “additional welfare support to terrorists injured by their own hands” and also supported Catriona Ruane “the principle apologist for the Colombia Three” over a unionist candidate as principal deputy speaker in the Assembly.

“The same DUP had no problem backing millions of pounds in funding for the redevelopment of Casement Park,” he added.