Apology over Wolfe Tones song 'wanting to erase the IRA from our history'

Brian Warfield has said the song is not about IRA glorification
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

08.55 3 Jan 2023

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Apology over Wolfe Tones song...

Apology over Wolfe Tones song 'wanting to erase the IRA from our history'

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

08.55 3 Jan 2023

Share this article

A lead songwriter for The Wolfe Tones has suggested apologising for singing 'Celtic Symphony' is trying to 'erase the IRA from everywhere.'

Leinster Rugby issued an apology immediately after the song was played at Dublin's RDS following their win over Connacht on Sunday.

The song contains the chant 'Ooh ah, up the RA'.


Brian Warfield, lead songwriter for The Wolfe Tones, told Newstalk Breakfast this is going too far.

"I think it's ridiculous to be honest now," he said.

"It's gone to the extreme now that I think they want to erase the IRA from our history books, from our schools, from everywhere.

"It is the foundation of our State - Michael Collins and the IRA, that's the people that we're supporting.

"We never said at any stage that it was going to be about the Provisional IRA, it doesn't say that, it doesn't say anything like that.

"In fact it could be about the Egyptian sun god, Ra.

"I never said what it was and I'm the writer".

'That insults me'

Asked if he could understand why some people are offended by any IRA connotations, he said: "I'm very offended by the fact that they wear poppies, and force people to wear poppies, on football fields and TV and everywhere else.

"That's celebrating the memory of the people who caused havoc in our country.

"The British army were no little peacekeepers when they came to Ireland - they were terrible.

"They used plastic bullets, we know about the collusion, we know about the bombings in Dublin, the bombings in Monaghan.

"We know about all the things that they created here in this country.

"Everytime they wear a poppy and force people - I don't mind them wearing a poppy if they want to - but they're forcing people.

"That insults me and insults a lot of Irish people".

'A right to remember history'

He said the song is not about IRA glorification.

"When I wrote that song it was very, very simple.

"I was walking through Glasgow and I see graffiti on the wall and it says 'Up the Celts, Up the Celts.

"And then I see 'Ooh ah up the RA' - the people in Glasgow have a right to remember their history and their story.

"There was more people came from Glasgow to Dublin for the 1916 Rising - let's remember them, they're the RA," he added.

It comes just months after the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) apologised for players on the Women's National Team for singing a similar song.

The association was subsequently fined €20,000 by UEFA.

Main image: Brian Warfield from 'The Wolfe Tones' performs in Belfast, Northern Ireland in August 2015. Picture by: Stephen Barnes/Music / Alamy Stock Photo

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1916 Rising Ah Up The Ra Brian Warfield Celtic Symphony Graffiti Ira Leinster Rugby Michael Collins Newstalk Breakfast Oh Poppies RDS The Wolfe Tones

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