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As nationalist sentiment was rising in the early years of the last century, a new generation of GAA officials emerged who were zealous in their belief in the transformative power of the GAA and they saw themselves as engaged in a project of national liberation. Some GAA tournaments were staged as part of a pro-Boer campaign. Police reports noted: “The ambition it seems to get hold of the youth of the country and educate them in rebellious and seditious ideas,” a somewhat hysterical interpretation of the GAA ban on foreign games.
Mícheál Walsh was a native of Headford who bought the Old Malt pub and grocery in High Street c1906. He was a Republican and a member of the Urban Council. He once proposed at a meeting that the idea of toll booths, of collecting tolls from people bringing goods into the city, should be extended to include the docks in order that they might levy any ships coming in to the docks, including Navy vessels. This was too much for his fellow (Unionist) councillor Joe Young, who protested, “Sure if that was the way, no British naval vessel would ever come in to the docks.” “I rest my case,” said Mr Walsh.