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Paisley appearance at football match raises questions

5 March, 2007

North Antrim Sinn Féin Representative Daithi McKay today said that the presence of Ian Paisley on the pitch before the Irish Cup match between Ballymena and Linfield on Saturday afternoon raised very serious issues for the IFA and the clubs involved.

Cllr. McKay said:

"When republicans recently held a rally to commemorate the Hunger Strike in Casement Park in Belfast DUP representatives sought to demonise the GAA and attack funding. They accused republicans of mixing sport and politics, this despite the fact that the event was clearly stand alone and did not involve any sporting aspect whatsoever.

"However on Saturday before an Irish Cup match in the Ballymena Showgrounds Ian Paisley was paraded on the pitch in front of the Linfield and Ballymena fans. This clearly was mixing sport and politics and raises very serious
questions for the IFA who have in recent years sought to distance themselves from the sectarian nature of soccer here.

"It also demonstrates once again very clearly the hypocrisy of the DUP and exposes the shallow nature of their vocal GAA bashing since the massive Hunger Strike Commemoration rally last August." ENDS

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