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IFA fail to justify anthem 'u-turn’ - Ní Chuilín

21 May, 2018 - by Carál Ní Chuilín


The Irish Football Association (IFA) has yet to adequately explain or justify its controversial decision to play the British national anthem at the Irish Cup final earlier this month, Sinn Féin MLA Carál Ní Chuilín has said.

The North Belfast MLA was commenting after a Sinn Féin delegation consisting of the party’s two North Belfast MLAs Carál Ní Chuilín and Gerry Kelly and Sinéad Ennis met with the IFA Chief Executive today.

She commented: “Today, we reiterated our concerns regarding the final on May 5th and the IFA’s decision to play the British national anthem in spite of a request from Cliftonville FC not to do so.

“This was a direct reversal of the arrangements that were in place in 2013 when Cliftonville last reached the Irish Cup Final and the anthem was not played. On that occasion, the IFA said they were committed to fostering a ‘politically neutral environment’.

“The decision to reverse that commitment was wrong and sends a clear message to the nationalist community that Windsor Park – a publicly funded stadium – is not for them.”

Sinn Féin Culture, Arts and Sport spokesperson Sinead Ennis MLA added: 

“We do not believe that the IFA have adequately explained or justified this decision and they failed to do so again today.

“Sinn Féin are now seeking a meeting with the Board members who took the decision to explain to them first-hand the impact it has had on the wider nationalist community.” 

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