A group of more than 3,000 GAA players and supporters in Co Antrim have written an open letter to Taoiseach Micheál Martin, calling for the Government to "take the lead" in planning discussions around "an agreed shared Ireland".

Some of the county's top GAA players, past and present, are among the 3,123 people to have backed the initiative and signed the letter, which is published in today’s Irish News.

Among those to sign are Antrim senior footballers Conor McCann and Paddy Cunningham, as well as former All-Star hurler Terence 'Sambo’ McNaughton.

The letter states that the group writes to the Taoiseach "as Gaels who are involved in Gaelic games in Co Antrim".

The group calls for the establishment of an All-Island Citizens Assembly to reflect "the views of citizens north and south to achieve maximum consensus on a way forward".

They say that "as Irish citizens, we believe that the future prosperity and well-being of all citizens on our island will be best upheld living in equality together in an agreed shared Ireland.".

The group said conversations are taking place "across society" in relation to what shape the island takes in the coming period, adding that those same conversations are also happening "at every level amongst the GAA community".

"It is the responsibility of the Irish government to ensure that the democratic rights of all citizens are respected and protected, regardless of where they live on the island," it said.

The letter adds: "We want the Irish Government to take the lead in planning these discussions and planning for the future."

The group said that "Gaels are uniquely well-placed" within local communities to contribute constructively to such discussions.

It said that it is the Irish Government’s responsibility to ensure that the democratic rights of all citizens are protected "regardless of where they live" on the island, adding that this is especially important now due to Brexit.

The letter ends with the group urging the Taoiseach to start the process, saying such planning needs to start now.

Asked about the letter, a spokesperson for the GAA said it is a project undertaken by the individuals themselves, and that the Association has no statement to make on the matter.

The Antrim County Board said it will read and discuss the substantial letter organised by grassroots members within the county.