Questions on 'vindictive' banner flown over GAA game

time:2023-06-02 16:12:31source:BBC News (British Broadcasting Corporation) author:Press center5

The Civil Aviation Authority is awaiting further information from the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) about a light aircraft flying above a football stadium in Northern Ireland.

Ulster GAA described the incident on Sunday as "a potential safety risk".

A banner featuring a message about a senior GAA official was towed behind the aircraft.

It circled the ground in Newry for a time during the Down v Donegal Ulster senior championship match.

The banner, which could be seen by thousands of football fans in Páirc Esler, displayed the message: "SACK SEAN OG - #SACKCHUCKYNED".

Seán Óg McAteer is the long serving county secretary of Down GAA.

Down GAA has described the incident as vindictive and "a stunt".

In a statement, the county board added: "We value the trojan work and dedication of our county secretary Seán Óg McAteer and of all of our officers and volunteers."

No-one linked to the aerial display has come forward since Sunday to publicly explain why the aircraft was deployed to display the message.

The Ulster GAA provincial council has said the deployment of the aircraft "created a potential safety risk, while the noise from the aircraft's engine caused great annoyance to players, match officials, spectators and those viewing the game on television".

The organisation has also said it has been liaising with both the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) and the Civil Aviation Authority about the incident.

The Civil Aviation Authority told BBC News NI that it was "awaiting further information from the GAA to assist with any investigation into the matter".

The PSNI said it was made aware of the incident but after its inquiries no offences were detected.

The incident has been strongly condemned on social media by a number of prominent GAA clubs in County Down.

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