The GAA V Douglas Hyde: The Removal of Ireland's First President as GAA Patron

Gaelic League, patron of the GAA and staunch advocate of Irish culture, he was inaugurated as the first President of Ireland in June 1938. The GAA: The pillar of Irish sporting culture, the Association was intensely proud of its traditions. Rule 27 ('The Ban'): 'Any member of the Association who plays or encourages in any way rugby, football, hockey or any imported game which is calculated to injuriously affect our National Pastimes, is suspended from the Association.' On 13 November 1938, just months after his inauguration, President Hyde attended a soccer match between Ireland and Poland. In a passionate reaction, the GAA declared that by attending a 'foreign game', he had broken Rule 27 and removed him as patron. One of the most contentious incidents in GAA history, it strained relations between the GAA and Eamon de Valera's Fianna Fail government. It also damaged the credibility of the Ban and was used extensively by opponents to argue for its removal. Cormac Moore explores Hyde's rise to prominence and his relationship with the GAA, as well as the background to the Ban itself. He examines arguments for and against the decision to remove Hyde as patron, as well as the national and international reaction, which this controversial decision received.