GAA condemn anti-Semitic Tweet from Ardboe player, but say they cannot act

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While the GAA has condemned an anti-Semitic Tweet by a former Tyrone star and police are now investigating, a Croke Park spokesman said there is nothing they can do about it as “this was a personal Tweet, made in personal time”.

On July 29, All-Ireland winner Tommy McGuigan posted, “If you are lucky enough to know or work with a Jew, punch him right on the nose tomorrow” followed by a hashtagged expletive, on his Twitter page.

And despite the outcry reported in Israeli media, the former county player still fielded for Ardboe O’Donovan Rossa GFC last Sunday after his very public racist rant.

When approached by the Mail, Ardboe O’Donovan Rossa said they did not want to comment, but in a statement released to the Mail, a spokesman for the GAA said: “The GAA totally disassociates itself from recent offensive and anti-Semitic comments made in a personal capacity by a former county player through social media.

“The Association is anti-racist and anti-sectarian and abhors and condemns these comments in the strongest terms possible.

“But secondly,” he said, “if you look at our rule book... they [the rules] cover the views of people whilst involved in activities organised by the GAA.

“This was nowhere near our games - This was a personal Tweet, made in personal time, so doesn’t leave us with an avenue to pursue.

“Besides that, I believe the PSNI are investigating it, so it’s a civic issue at that juncture.”

McGuigan’s comment has now been deleted, and his Tweets protected, but not before what he said had spread across social media.

Speaking on behalf of Northern Ireland’s Jewish population, Rabbi David Singer, told the Mail: “There are lots of issues that are going on at the moment.

“I think everybody needs to be very careful, because there is something called freedom of speech, in which case anybody can say whatever they want, whatever they feel.

“Everybody is entitled to their opinion and to express it, [but] when we incite people to hatred, or when we incite people to violence - that’s called crossing the border.

“We really need to be very careful that we don’t actually find ourselves in these situations - that seems to be what’s happening.”

Rabbi Singer went on to say this is not the only anti-semitic act Ulster’s 350 Jewish people have recently faced.

He told the Mail how a window in their only synagogue (in Belfast) was broken, and that the incident was just one of many.

“The PSNI are investigating quite a few things at the moment,” he said.

The PSNI have confirmed they first received a complaint about McGuigan’s Tweet on August 14, and are investigating it as a ‘hate incident’.

Meanwhile, the Tweet - for which he has now apologised - has attracted a range of replies on social media.

“What is the @officialgaa doing about disgusting tweet from @tjmcguigan83 Incitement to violence & religious hatred,” said one.

Others have posted pictures of their “Jewish nose” adding: “In case any GAA players/supporters have trouble identifying my Yiddisher schnoz.”