Residents complain as pitches sacrificed to GAA

The TUV has claimed they received complaints about the alleged removal of east Belfast football pitches to make way for a GAA field.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 5th August 2022, 7:14 am

TUV East Belfast representative John Ross said a number of residents around Victoria Park had asked him to write to the chief executive of Belfast City Council to raise questions about the future of the football pitches.

Work on the potential east Belfast GAA pitch has been halted according to SDLP councillor Seamus deFaoite due to “commentary from people who would much rather try and stop GAA from taking place in east Belfast”.

East Belfast GAA club has expressed an interest in finding a more regular pitch to train and play matches on, after using different council venues since its foundation in 2020.

Victoria Park east Belfast. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

A Belfast City Council spokesperson said: “Some initial preparatory work which had been started at Victoria Park has now been halted pending further engagement.”

Mr Ross welcomed the pause on the project adding: “We questioned what consultation, if any, took place before the decision to scrap the football pitches was made, the cost of the creation of the GAA pitch at the expense of the football pitches and what thought has been given to provision for footballers who continue to enjoy a sport which has always been welcoming to all sections of the community.”

Loyalist activist Jamie Bryson said the unionist and loyalist community views the GAA as “toxic”.

Mr Bryson said: “If the GAA wants to be acceptable in unionist areas, then they should publicly disassociate themselves from any and all commemorations of IRA terrorism.

“That is why many in the unionist and loyalist community view the GAA as toxic. I believe the time has come to halt public funding unless and until the GAA can disavow past IRA terrorism.”