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Fireside Chats - Jennifer Arthur

Irish Nationalist Identity in Transition: The GAA and Rule 21

October 25, 2023
Common Room, Mitchell Institute, 18 University Square
17:00 - 18:30

Chair: Damien Rea, PGR student, QUB

In the first Fireside Chat of the new academic year, PhD candidate Jennifer Arthur will discuss Rule 21 of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) which banned members of the British security forces from playing or being members of the GAA from 1885 to 2001.  This rule created an added dimension to the divisions in Northern Ireland during the Troubles from 1969 to 1998 and for three years after the Good Friday Agreement in 2001 when the Rule was finally deleted.

This presentation will discuss the political connections and impacts surrounding the deletion of Rule 21 from the GAA rulebook, to give an important insight into the complexity and indeed diversity of Irish nationalist politics north and south of the border.

By predominantly using qualitative interviews and media coverage, Jennifer will explore the debates and impacts around rescinding of Rule 21 and the impact on Crossmaglen Rangers and the British Army occupation of Crossmaglen GAA grounds in South Armagh.

Debate in national GAA Congress in the years leading up to the rule change achieved a national solidarity and an understanding of the difficulties faced by Irish nationalists in the North by their southern counterparts. 

The examination of the deletion of this rule allows an important perspective of the evolution and meaning of Irish nationalist identity.


Jennifer Arthur

Jennifer Arthur is a PhD student at Queen’s University Belfast.  Her research is focused on Irish nationalism and identifying diversity in contemporary Irish Nationalism and Irish National Identity, using the framework of sport, and nationalism in sport, in particular the Gaelic Athletic Association.

School of History, Anthropology, Philosophy and Politics
The Senator George J Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice
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