Peter Robinson receives warm welcome as he attends first GAA match
Northern Ireland’s First Minister sees Tyrone beat Derry
Leading loyalist politician Peter Robinson has attended his first gaelic football match – and received a warm welcome from fans at the McKenna Cup final in Armagh.
Northern Ireland’s First Minister was a special guest of the GAA and Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuinness at the game on Saturday night.
The DUP leader saw Mickey Harte’s Tyrone defeat Derry in the company of his Deputy First Minister McGuinness, a keen Derry fan and GAA supporter.
“Mr Robinson got a warm reception,” McGuinness told the BBC after the historic presence of a loyalist leader at the largely nationalist supported event.
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“His attendance is evidence of his inclusive approach and is another little piece of history.
“Peter got a very warm reception from everyone he met at the game. It was wonderful to have him there.”
The GAA has been keen to build bridges with the Protestant community in Northern Ireland since it lifted the ban on members of the security forces playing football and hurling 11 years ago.
Last year the Queen of England visited Croke Park during her Irish tour.
BBC Northern Ireland sports reporter Mark Sidebottom saw Robinson take his seat at the game just after the throw-in.
He said: “Security was low-key for the First Minister’s visit and his attendance caused barely a ripple among the crowd.”
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