Rule 21 is ‘history’ says GAA president

The Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) has voted to scrap its controversial Rule 21 which bans members of the security forces playing Gaelic games.

The organisation made the decision at a special congress convened in Dublin on Saturday November 17.

A two-thirds majority was required in order to lift the ban and was obtained following a show of hands from the 301 delegates. GAA president Sean McCague said: “Some people will say this is a very significant move. But it had to be dealt with. Now it is history. An overwhelming majority of delegates were in favour of its deletion. Those in favour and those against all spoke. Obviously those against accepted the decision as democrats. As far as I’m concerned it’s just another day. It will be forgotten about next week.”

The move was welcomed by Northern Ireland Secretary John Reid who said: “This is a progressive decision made by an association that plays a large and important role in community life north and south. I welcome this contribution towards the creation of a more inclusive society.”

The vote on Rule 21 at Saturday’s special congress was taken following the official changeover earlier this month from the Royal Ulster Constabulary into the Police Service of Northern Ireland, as part of measures undertaken in the Good Friday Agreement. (AMcE)

Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

18 June 2015
Ballycastle School Closed Following Asbestos Find
A school in Ballycastle, Co Antrim, has been forced to close for the remainder of the academic year after "minor particles" of asbestos were identified in the building, according to the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools (CCMS). Cross and Passion College informed parents on Tuesday that the school would remain closed until further notice.
29 June 2015
Man Released Following Bomb Discovery In West Belfast
A man arrested in connection after a bomb was found by police in west Belfast has been released. The device was discovered during a planned search of a house in Lenadoon Avenue on Friday night. Residents had to be evacuated from their homes nearby as army bomb officers made the device safe.
29 June 2015
Police Release CCTV Images Of Man Following Bomb Hoax Calls
Police investigating a series of bomb hoax calls have released CCTV images of a man they would like to speak to. The footage was taken on the Cliftonville Road in north Belfast on 29 August 2014. Detectives are appealing to the public's help to identify the man.
23 June 2015
Police Appeal Following Attempted Hijacking In Newtownabbey
Police are appealing for information following an attempted hijacking in Newtownabbey on Sunday. The incident occurred in Moreland Avenue at around 1.45am. A taxi driver stopped to ask two men if they had ordered a taxi and while he was talking to them one of the men tried to open the car door which was locked.
17 June 2015
Road Users Urged To Take More Care Following Serious Incidents
Police in Ards and North Down are appealing for all road users to take more care following two serious incidents on Monday 15 June. A multiple car collision occurred on the Ballyblack Road in Ards and a number of people had to be cut from their vehicles. In a separate incident, a young boy was hit by a vehicle on the High Bangor Road in Donaghadee.
25 March 2015
County Tyrone Primary School Reinstated As A Polling Station
A primary school in County Tyrone has been reinstated as a polling station after the Ulster Unionists appealed the initial decision for it to close.
16 June 2015
Man Arrested Following Police Chase In Lisburn
A man has been arrested following a police chase in Lisburn, Co Antrim. The pursuit started on the Brokerstown Road on Monday at around 4.30pm. Police tried to stop the silver Vauxhall Vectra after it was seen driving erratically. However, the car took off at speed onto the Knockmore Road and caused other drivers to swerve out of its way.
12 June 2015
Police Appeal Following Armed Robbery In East Belfast
A man armed with a knife robbed a convenience store in east Belfast on Friday morning. The incident occurred on the Woodstock Road at around 7am. The man threatened two members of staff and made off with a quantity of cigarettes in a red recycling box. He headed on foot in the direction of Willowfield Walk. The man wore a mask and a red hooded top.
11 June 2015
Man Arrested Following Knife Attack In Glengormley
An 18-year-old man has been arrested in connection with a knife attack in Glengormley, County Antrim. The incident occurred at a house on the Antrim Road at approximately 11pm. A man, 20, sustained a serious cut to his forehead.
05 June 2015
Man Arrested Following Drugs Seizure
A 42-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of drug offences following a car search in the Castlereagh area in the early hours of Friday 5 June. Police stopped a car on the Newtownbreda Road at around 2.45am on Firday.
12 June 2015
Other News In Brief
Farmer Fined For Pollution Offence A farmer has been fined after pleading guilty for making a polluting discharge to a waterway at Omagh Magistrates Court. Mr Ivan Jobb was fined £250, plus an offenders levy of £15.
16 November 2001
Down GAA breaks with tradition on Rule 21
County Down is the first Northern Ireland Gaelic Athletic Association board to vote to scrap Rule 21, which prevents members of the security forces joining. The county’s GAA board made the decision at a meeting on Thursday November 16.
13 November 2001
Cavan and Monaghan vote to scrap GAA’s Rule 21
Cavan and Monaghan Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) county committees have backed the proposal to delete the GAA’s controversial Rule 21, which bans members of the British Army from playing Gaelic games. On Monday, November 12, the majority of Monaghan GAA county committee voted to support the abolition of Rule 21.
07 November 2001
Donegal GAA County Board vote to scrap Rule 21
Donegal has become the first Ulster County to back the abolition of the Gaelic Athletic Association’s controversial Rule 21 which bans members of the British Army from playing Gaelic games.
31 October 2001
Armagh and Derry vote to retain Rule 21
The GAA county boards of Armagh and Derry have voted against scrapping Rule 21, which bans members of the RUC and British army from joining the Gaelic Athletic Association. News from the two hardcore counties against removing Rule 21 comes as results from the nine Ulster counties on the rule begin to stream in.