Alliance Sports Spokesperson Michael Long has welcomed that the GAA’s decision to open up Croke Park for rugby and soccer, and suggested the unity of the three codes could be an example for the North.
The Castlereagh Councillor stated: “Sports fans right across the island will be pleased that such a superb facility as Croke Park is being opened up to other sports temporarily. The decision is logical, as American Football had already been played there; practical, as it will enable other sports to continue with large crowds; and most of all inclusive, showing that each of the three codes can stand on its own two feet with nothing to fear from the others.
“I recognize Croke Park is the home of Gaelic Games, and such an arrangement is by necessity temporary. However, in Northern Ireland a similar, more permanent arrangement would make sense. It is very questionable whether there is any need for Belfast to have separate facilities for each of the three codes, when one central, 21st century facility could cover all three and provide a modern level of comfort and convenience.
“Tonight’s decision from the IFA will give some guidance as to how prepared each code’s governing body is to unite in such a way. Whatever we decide, we must heed the Government’s warning that it is most likely a Maze Stadium or none at all — that is the choice.”