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'They probably weren't aware': Cork County Board condemns flying of Confederate flag

The flag was flown by Cork supporters during Sunday’s All Ireland semi-final against Waterford.

Confederate flag flown by Cork supporters in 2015.
Confederate flag flown by Cork supporters in 2015.
Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

CORK GAA COUNTY BOARD has condemned the use of the Confederate flag by their fans and asked people not to bring the flag to Cork matches in the future.

Cork fans have a long history of flying a range of different flags in support of their team however the continued use of the Confederate flag has repeatedly caused controversy in recent years.

The appearance of the flag during Sunday’s All Ireland Hurling semi-final between Cork and Waterford caused widespread condemnation.

The outrage was heightened by the fact that the match came in the aftermath of a woman being killed in Charlottesville, Virginia, while protesting against Confederate flag carrying white supremacists.

Speaking after an executive county board meeting tonight Cork GAA public relations officer Donal Leahy said the board condemns the use of the flag.

“The county board condemns the use of the Confederate flag and we are advising people not to bring it to Cork matches in the future,” Leahy said.

We would also ask other fans to inform them (those flying the flag) of the history of the flag, if people aren’t sure of the reason why it’s being condemned.

“We would ask them to advise them on the history of the flag as a hate symbol.”
Leahy noted that there was only a couple of people with the flag at Sunday’s match and they may not have been aware of the negative connotations it holds.

“They probably weren’t aware, but with the weekend that was in it they’ll probably be aware now,” he concluded.

The flag was subject to another GAA controversy in 2015 when it appeared at two Cork matches shortly after mass murderer Dylann Roof killed nine people in a racially motivated attack on a church.

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On that occasion GAA president Aogán Ó Fearghaíl urged supporters to be vigilant in their use of the flag. While Sport Against Racism Ireland labelled it a “flag of hatred” and called for it to be banned from all GAA matches.

However Munster GAA Chairman Jerry O’Sullivan defended the use of the flag and said he didn’t think that it carries a political message.

“I don’t think they are carried with any political message. I think we can go too far with political correctness as well. The only reason they’re being held is because they are red and white,” O’Sullivan said to the The Irish Examiner.

READ: Donald Trump doubles back – says there was ‘blame on both sides’ at Virginia>

READ: ‘Is it something we want to keep doing?’ Cork fans again urged to drop Confederate flag>

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Ceimin Burke

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