Northern Ireland

GAA star Jarlath Burns questions Gaeltacht welcome

People in Gaeltacht areas of County Donegal need to decide if visitors from Northern Ireland are welcome, former Armagh GAA star Jarlath Burns has said.

Mr Burns' 15-year-old son was one of eight students from Counties Armagh and Down beaten with hurleys by a gang of up to 20 youths.

The teenagers were on their way back to an Irish language summer school in Loughanure when they were attacked.

Mr Burns, who is a BBC GAA pundit, said he was "absolutely disgusted".

"We are not talking about a little bit of a banter between some young fellas. These students, who are good young fellas coming to Donegal to be immersed in the Irish language, were attacked by grown men," he told the Irish Times.

One of the students received several stitches to his head in what gardai described as a vicious attack.

Mr Burns said about 1,000 students came from Northern Ireland to gaeltacht areas of County Donegal every year and were worth £1m to the local economy.

"We need to sit down and decide if the students from the six counties are welcome in Donegal anymore," he said.

"This has been bubbling under the surface for some years now with smaller incidents."

He said that while many people in the Gaeltacht would be outraged, "the general community in Loughanure needs to ask itself: should we stand by and watch these young students be treated like this?"

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