The name of Mayo’s second most successful Gaelic Football club has come under scrutiny because of the Irish patriot they’re named after.

Castlebar Mitchels is one of eight GAA clubs on the island of Ireland named after famous Irish revolutionary and pro-slavery advocate John Mitchel.

The Derry native was a leader in the Young Irelander’s Movement and was banished to Van Diemen’s Land in 1848.

He escaped to America and became prolific for his writing about Britain’s involvement in the Famine, terming it a ‘genocide’.

Castlebar Mitchels was named in his honour ten years after his death, as he was revered by many nationalists as a republican hero, whose work would go on to influence the leaders of the 1916 rising.

However, protests by the Black Lives Matter movement in America and across the world over the death of George Floyd have led to calls for so-called ‘racist’ historical monuments to be removed from public places.

A statue to the Irish nationalist has been brought under scrutiny in Newry, Co. Down, where there is also a local GAA club named after Mitchel.

Midwest Sport contacted Castlebar Mitchels on the issue and received no comment from the 31-time Mayo SFC winners.


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