Armagh legend McConville backs Palestinian petition

Michael Scott

Reporter:

Michael Scott

Email:

michael.scott@newrydemocrat.com

Tuesday 26 June 2018 16:21

ARMAGH GAA legend Oisin McConville has put his name to a petition supporting the Palestinian flag being flown at Gaelic games.

More than 1,500 GAA members have got behind the motion and signed the petition which has pledged allegiance to the Palestinian humanitarian.

As well as Mr McConville, fellow signatories include Tyrone legend Peter Canavan, along with current GAA stars Brendan Donaghy (Armagh), Gavin McParland (Armagh), Padraic McNulty (Tyrone) and Paudge Quinn (Tyrone).

The petition was launched to show solidarity with the Palestinian humanitarian crisis and in protest at a GAA official demanding two Palestinian flags be removed from a championship game in Healy Park in Omagh earlier this month.

However, the former Crossmaglen Rangers star said that, for him, this is a humanitarian issue and not a political one. He added that he felt obligated and duty bound to show his support for an oppressed people.

He said: “Whereas a lot of people think that it's a political thing, for me, it's purely a human rights thing and that's why I signed it.

“That's why I think we need to raise the awareness. I grew up in an area that was oppressed and, more importantly, suppressed for years.

“I was born in 1975 so I grew up in the midst of that whole thing for 20 years of my life where that was all part of it, so for me it's more a human rights thing than a political thing.”

He added that he would “like to think at the core of us all” that the impact of the violence and bombings in the Gaza Strip “would strike a chord”.

The Armagh legend opined that he doesn't think the supporter should have been asked to remove the Palestinian flag in Omagh.

“Put it like this, I don't think that people should be asked not to fly them. Regardless of where you go, people use different flags to support different teams.

“People will ask what does that mean or does it mean that mean you can fly any political banner, but I think people sometimes take these things out of context, a sign of support for a people that are really struggling.”

Oisin says that displaying support and solidarity with Palestine doesn't open the doors for truly contentious flags - such as those of far-right political groups - being flown.

“Sensible people know that, it's just some people just take the opportunity because it's a lot easier to be negative and to stir trouble rather than just see it for what it is, so people need to see it for what it is,” said Oisin.

“In everyone's core values I don't understand why anybody wouldn't support the Palestinians in the fact that they're being suppressed and oppressed and tortured every single day of the week. This is happening in other places but I suppose, for me, this is something I've been aware of for a long time, you get to know the history of it and it means something to you.

“I can liken it to growing up in an area where there was that bit of oppression, so that's why I think the Palestinian movement strikes a chord more so than probably anywhere else to be honest.”

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