Sport and new Ireland: Sinn Féin Commission on the Future of Ireland

Katie Liston, Joseph Maguire

Research output: Other contribution

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Rather than being free from ideological considerations or even ‘pure’, sport is inextricably bound up with the welfare state, the economy, culture, politics, health and education. Many believe intensely in the power of sport to change people’s lives for the better and we are learning more about the complex mechanisms involved. Sport, like other cultural activities, allows groups to build and maintain social capital. Much has been made of its role in subverting conflict, building bridges, and bolstering peace and reconciliation. But there many others too who are disinclined towards sport, who may dislike or even abhor it. For them sport is trivia - of far less importance than health, education, the welfare state, economy, and politics for instance. It has even been said that sport is and should be untouched by politics and other ideological considerations. At its core, the social fabric of sport acts as a constitutive force for identities. Think about the naming/renaming of sports stadia and clubs, the forging of emblems and the waving of flags and other insignia, the adoption of songs and performances of banter between competitors and supporters. The playing of anthems and the symbolic silences and protests of players are particularly visceral expressions of national identity as are the self-asserted rights of sports governing bodies to jurisdiction over a claimed territory and to governance responsibilities for its members. In Ireland we find a distinctive conglomeration of such rights and identities, owing to its colonial and Imperial history.
Original languageEnglish
TypeSinn Féin Commission on Future of Ireland
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 2 Sept 2022


  • sport
  • Ireland
  • future
  • culture
  • identity


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