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Cork GAA County Board says Confederate flags will be confiscated at their grounds

The county board said the flag was banned in 2017.

The flag flying at a Cork game in 2015.
The flag flying at a Cork game in 2015.
Image: Inpho

THE CORK COUNTY Board has said it will confiscate Confederate flags from GAA matches at its grounds if fans attempt to bring them in.

The county board condemned the use of the flag in 2017 and urged fans not to bring it to Cork grounds but has again reaffirmed that they are not welcome.

The Confederate flag was the flag of the secessionist southern states that fought against the United States during the 19th century American Civil War. The confederacy fought the war in an effort to create their own republic that maintained slavery. 

Until recent years the flag continued to be used across the southern United States, even on US State buildings, but always remained controversial and was also used by white supremacists. 

The use of the flag by white supremacist mass murderer Dylann Roof in Charleston, South Carolina it 2015 caused a reckoning on the flag’s widespread use. 

Earlier this week, US stock car racing championship NASCAR confirmed that it was banning the flag from its races in the wake of the George Floyd protests.

This move was seen as especially significant because of the popularity of NASCAR in the southern states and the flag’s former association with car racing. 

file-confederate-flag-removal-rally-in-columbia A white supremacist rally in South Carolina. Source: PA Images

Cork fans have a long history of flying a range of different flags in support of their team and the Confederate flag is among those that has been spotted at GAA grounds for decades.

Its use among Cork fans was due to its red colour and the fact that it represented a secessionist republic, with Cork also known as the Rebel County. 

The GAA President and the Cork County Board have previously called on the flag not to be used at its matches and its use has declined in recent years. 

Speaking today, Cork County Board chair Tracey Kennedy said she hasn’t seen the flag at Cork matches since 2017 but again reiterated that it is not allowed.

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“I haven’t witnessed the flag being flown by Cork supporters since that, it may have been but I haven’t witnessed it, or haven’t received any complaints about it since then either,” she told RTÉ’s Drivetime programme

She also said that if an attempt was made to bring the flag into the ground it would be confiscated. 

“It’s something that we are happy to do if stewards see the flag under people’s arms on the way into the ground it can be confiscated, and it can be confiscated within our grounds.

“I think in my mind is was already banned, I took that 2017 appeal to be a banning of it,” she added. 

“But I suppose the fact the questions have arisen around this issue again suggests to me that there is a need for us to be absolutely clear and explicit in stating that this flag, this Confederate flag, is banned from Cork GAA grounds and it has absolutely no place in our association.”

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Rónán Duffy

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