A local Gaelic football club has responded to criticism over new nets installed at their grounds insisting they are in keeping with club colours.
UUP MLA Doug Beattie had hit out at St Paul’s Gaelic Football Club for changing their netting to “depict the Irish Tricolour” and in doing so “marking out territory”.
The club has now defended their new nets, re-iterating that they - along with the club’s new stand - are in keeping with the club’s colours.
“It was with a fair degree of disappointment that I noticed St Paul’s Gaelic Football Club have changed their netting to depict the Irish Tricolour where previously the nets - in the same colours of the Irish National flag - clearly reflected the colours of the sports team,” Mr Beattie said.
He added: “This change has created a permanent depiction of the Irish Tricolour on the main Tandragee Road between central Craigavon and Lurgan and on one of the main routes used by those travelling from Portadown to Lurgan,” Mr Beattie said.
Mr Beattie added: “As St Paul’s GAA clearly want to promote a positive image and - like Lurgan Rugby Football Club – break down sporting barriers between our communities I would suggest this decision to have such an overt permanent display is counterproductive.
“Again I have no issue with the GAA, the Irish National flag or any expressions of identity.
“However, this display by the club does nothing to make me want to engage with or attend any sporting event at the club and that is a shame.
“Therefore I would respectfully ask St Paul’s GAA to reconsider the netting at their ground and return to the previous design that promotes the club and displays the club colours.”
St Paul’s GFC Chairman Phillip Mallon said the club’s colours have been green, white and yellow since it was established in 1971.
Mr Mallon explained that the colours on the club’s nets had been made in error in the wrong colour sequence and had then been replaced in the correct green, white and yellow sequence.
“These have always been the club’s colours,” Mr Mallon said.
He added: “The last thing we want to do is upset anyone but the nets are in the club’s colours.
“There is a big difference between green, white and yellow, and the green, white and orange of the Tricolour.”