There is an essential dichotomy in the essence of the GAA’s role in Irish society.
It is hardly necessary to explain this. No one can be in any doubt that in its successful quest of popularising and maintaining core values of Irish culture, the GAA has also been a participant in the process of cultural separation.
Now, with all eyes fixed on the hope of a future free of conflict and division, there is an urgent need for promoting community integration. In the past, people like myself (now well into middle age) were denied the Irish language by a segregated educational system. Indeed, I am one of those to whom, “our national language, with its wealth of poetry, romance and folk-lore is still a closed book” (Pearse: ‘Gaelic Prose Literature” 1897).