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.

31 July 2018
Number Of 'Suspicious Items' Removed From Milltown Cemetery
A number of "suspicious" items have been removed from Milltown Cemetery in Belfast. It is understood that police attended the cemetery in West Belfast following reports of a "number of suspicious items". Police confirmed that officers attended and have taken a number of items away for examination. Investigations are ongoing.
16 July 2018
17-Year-Old Charged In Connection With L'Derry Disorder
A 17-year-old male has been charged in connection with a number of offences linked with recent rioting in L'Derry. He will appear at Omagh Magistrates Court later today, 16 July on charges including possessing petrol bombs in suspicious circumstances, riotous behaviour and throwing petrol bombs.
03 December 2018
DUP Out Of Touch With Majority On Brexit - Sinn Fein
Sinn Fein Vice President Michelle O'Neill has accused the DUP of being out of touch with the rest of the population on Brexit.
05 December 2018
Majority Of GPs Concerned About Increased Winter Workloads
Nine out of ten GPs working in Northern Ireland are concerned about their increasing workloads this winter and its affect on their ability to care for patients. The Royal College of GPs (RCGPNI) published a member's survey on Wednesday 05 December, warning that practices will be under "intense strain" over the coming months.
03 December 2018
Body Found On Portstewart Promenade
Police have launched an investigation following the discovery of a man's body on rocks along the North Coast on the morning of Sunday 02 December. The remains were found at around 11.15am near the lower promenade in Portstewart. The area was cordoned off and combed by forensic officers.
06 December 2018
Alliance: Backstop Protects The Good Friday Agreement
As Prime Minister Theresa May fights to gain Parliament support for her Withdrawal Agreement, Northern Ireland's Alliance Party has issued an assurance that the backstop it contains will protect the Good Friday Agreement.
07 August 2018
Sinn Fein's Michelle O'Neill Breaks Her Leg
Sinn Fein's Northern Ireland leader Michelle O'Neill has broken her leg. She is believed to be recovering well following surgery, according to the party. A party spokesperson said: "Michelle O'Neill suffered a leg break in an accident. "She underwent a procedure and is recovering well." No further details have been released.
02 August 2018
Security Alert In Lurgan Ends
A security alert in Lurgan has now ended. The alert came into force following a report that several explosive devices had been left in the Lake Street area on Thursday, 02 August. The railway line was forced to close during the alert. Nothing suspicious has been found and the trains are now back on.
24 July 2018
Elderly Man Left Shaken Following Attack In Co Tyrone
An elderly man has been left shaken following an attack at his home in Co Tyrone. The assault happened in the Drumcairne Road area in Stewartstown just before 11am on Monday, 23 July. Two men entered the property, attacked the homeowner and smashed up his home before making off.
23 July 2018
Eight-Year-Old Dies In Co Down Collision
An eight-year-old boy has died following a road traffic collision in Banbridge, Co Down. The child died following a two-car collision on the Aughnacloy Road at about 5.20pm on Saturday, 21 July. A man, a woman and another child remain in a serious condition in hospital.
17 July 2018
Two People Stable After Suspected Ammonia Leak In Kilkeel
Two people are in a stable condition following a suspected ammonia leak at a fish factory in Kilkeel, Co Down. Emergency services attended the scene at Young's Seafood processing factory on Monday, 16 July. A total of 14 people were taken to hospital to be assessed.
09 July 2018
Man Dies In Police Custody
A man has died in police custody, according to Sinn Fein. It is understood the 26-year-old died in the early hours of Monday morning, 09 July, after he was arrested following an incident in the Antrim Road area. MLA Gerry Kelly expressed his sympathies to his family members.
03 July 2018
Appeal For Information Following Armed Robbery In Belfast
The PSNI have issued an appeal for information following an armed robbery in Belfast City Centre. According to reports, a man armed with a gun entered a shop on King Street at about 8.40pm on and threatened staff on Monday, 02 July.
25 June 2018
Man Injured In Arson Attack In L'Derry
Police have issued an appeal for information following an arson incident in L'Derry. A man is being treated in hospital for injuries he sustained while trying to extinguish a fire on a vehicle outside a house in the Sevenoaks area of the city in the early hours of Sunday morning.
25 June 2018
Motorcyclist Killed In Larne Crash Named
A motorcyclist killed in a road traffic crash in Larne has been named. Trevor Black, 55, died following a collision between a Yamaha XT and a Jeep Renegade on the Coast Road at around 11am on Sunday 24 June. The driver of the Jeep suffered injuries to his arm and was treated at the scene.