DUP Assembly Member Alastair Ross MLA has said that athletes in Northern Ireland should not be prevented from representing Great Britain at the Olympic Games, and said that hockey players in particular are put in a very difficult position as they must choose to play for either GB or the Irish team.
Commenting Mr Ross said,“When the Great Britain hockey team was at its most successful, players from Northern Ireland were always an integral part of the squad, most notably when local players Stephen Martin and Jimmy Kirkwood won the Gold medal in the 1988 Olympic Games.
“Unfortunately, over recent years, Ulster born players have been forced to choose either to play forIreland or for Team GB. Should a player aim for the British team they rule themselves out of many of the other top international competitions where GB do not compete, but rather England, Scotland and Wales compete individually. It is therefore hard for a player to play at a high enough level to maintain form.
“I have written to the Great Britain Hockey Association, the Irish Hockey Association, the Sports Minister and the Commonwealth Games Council for Northern Ireland to investigate the possibility of changing the eligibility guidelines and also to look at the establishment of a Northern Ireland hockey team which would be able to compete in the Commonwealth Games.
“A Northern Ireland team would allow many local players to compete at a higher level and compete at an international stage that at present is denied to them. The establishment of an NI team would not split the existing affiliated hockey body as there are sports which have a cross-border Ireland team for some competitions and a Northern Ireland team for others, just as other sports such as Boxing and Swimming do.
“It is pleasing that the new DCAL Minister Gregory Campbell has confirmed that he will be raising this matter with the Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games Committee and will write to the Irish Hockey Association on the issue.”
What do you think? Would this idea be feasible? Have your say…
16 Responses to “DUP member calls for Northern Irish team”
July 1, 2008 11:05 am Anonymous says
DUP, who votes for them anyway, did that guy even play hockey before. ireland are improving all the time, its noticable. this suite could single handedly fuck up passmores campaign to reach a major competition. republic of ireland team would struggle. obsolute shambles…
July 1, 2008 2:15 pm Anonymous says
No one voted for him anyway, he was granted the East Antrim seat by ‘Uncle Iain’ when the previous MLA, George Dawson, passed away. He does or did play for Lisnagarvey. Obviously trying to make a name for himself.
July 1, 2008 2:32 pm Anonymous says
I think this would be a bad move,the great britain team is not that strong anymore to go and win medals in olympics, I think stay play for ireland and try make it that way
July 1, 2008 6:10 pm Anonymous says
either way, the nordies have to make up their minds… Do you want to play for a united Ireland team (similar to Rugby) or just occassionally contribute to a GB team… up to you fellas (and lassies)
July 1, 2008 7:54 pm Anonymous says
i think one player from scotland plays with gb.. it would create awful division within the united irish team and singlehandedly scupper the hard work being done to advance irish hockey.. this could also potentially have impliations for the club situation and impending inaugural ail so i believe this to be a horribly though out idea..
July 3, 2008 6:28 pm Anonymous says
It is hard to take a comment seriously when it resorts to the use of profanity.
I’m impartial on the idea as a whole, but you have to admit, Ulster isn’t given the recognition it deserves for producing some of Ireland’s best players.
July 4, 2008 9:03 am Anonymous says
Id rather this didnt turn into a political debate.The problems up north dont even register with our southern counterparts anymore.Which is the way it should be.Yes,Ulster produce some fine players.But no more so than Leinster and Munster.I suppose you have to ask yourself;are you Irish or are you British?But thats the identity crisis that has eaten away at society as a whole up north for generations now.
July 4, 2008 1:55 pm Anonymous says
I think that sport has to be used as a tool to unite rather than divide, not politically but socially.
I think that Norhtern Irish players should play for Ireland but also have the option of playing for GB if they are selected. Perhaps the GB team could become a hockey “lions like” team including Irish players; can’t see it happening given the political division but food for thought……….
July 4, 2008 10:51 pm Anonymous says
I have no problem with Northerners playing for Ireland but if you play in green you should sing our national anthem not Ireland’s Call! Northern Irish citizens have the opportunity to play for either GB or Ireland so if they choose to play for us learn our song!! Otherwise make your own team!
July 5, 2008 9:52 am Anonymous says
That’s just stupid, there’s no point getting worked up over a song…..do you even know what it means in English? Why should they have to sing it if they play for Ireland?…Southerners don’t have to sing it if they don’t want to.
Reality is the players just wanna play; let them, don’t tell them they need to sing a song as a rite of passage. The players probably don’t want to sing Irelands call either.
July 7, 2008 9:01 pm Anonymous says
Oh the song –people should accept that the Soldiers Song is the anthem for the Republic of Ireland — therefore when people are playing Hockey ( and Rugby) they are playing for Ireland ( all Island Ireland )–not the Republic of Ireland–show some respect for people from the North who do not see it as their anthem –we need to accept that.
July 7, 2008 10:40 pm Anonymous says
At least the rugby sing the national anthem at home games!
July 10, 2008 3:21 pm Anonymous says
Take the Ulster players out of the Irish team and to be honest u arent left with much, so its in the iha’s best interests not to have a Northern Ireland team!! Harsh but true!
Lewers, Gleggy, Magee, 3 players on the irish team who are consistantly top class!!
July 24, 2008 2:32 pm Anonymous says
Ireland’s Call (crap song though it may be) was developed as anthem which would be acceptable to people from all communities when thay play under an Irish flag. By and large it serves this purpose well (even if its a crap song). Calls to revert to Ahran na BhFiann are juvenile…
This comment has been edited
July 24, 2008 2:35 pm Anonymous says
The idea that Ulster players should have the option of being selected for GB while still playing for Ireland, is worthy of debate. Martin and Kirkwood both did it and to my mind (as a Leinsterman) were great ambassadors of the sport and of Irish hockey whether they played for GB or for Ireland. The Olympics is the only time there would ever be a potential conflict (I think) and if this ever was an issue surely they could pick at that time. For the many players in Ulster who feel an affinity both with Irish identity and Irish hockey and with their British identity, this is surely a reasonable compromise.
August 9, 2012 7:46 am Mark says
Yer DUP man should lay off dubious substances and leave it up to players from the North if they want to play for Britain or Ireland.
Not both, probably. And certainly not a third even weaker team…
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