A British Minister has said a video of people singing ‘‘Ooh, aah, up the Ra’ at Dublin Airport left him “deeply shocked".
Steve Baker, who serves as a Minister of State in the Northern Ireland, said that the footage was “profoundly disrespectful to the victims of terrorism.”
— Steve Baker MP FRSA 🗽 (@SteveBakerHW) October 15, 2022
His intervention comes following days of debate about the appropriateness of the chant; on Tuesday, the Republic of Ireland women’s football team sang it after their win over Scotland. However, when the clip was published on social media it went viral and manager Vera Pauw issued a swift apology.
"We were made aware of a clip that has gone viral, out of the dressing-room. From the bottom of our heart, we are so sorry because there is no excuse for hurting people," she said.
"I'm responsible for the players, so on behalf of the players and the staff and the association, I would offer my sincere apologies to all the people that we have hurt."
Unionist politicians reacted with horror and Police Scotland have confirmed that they are investigating the incident following a complaint from DUP MLA David Hilditch.
While Wolfe Tones singer Brian Warfield said he was proud that the players had chosen to celebrate with one of the band’s tunes.
“It is a great song, that’s why they sing it,” he told Lunchtime Live.
“They don’t sing it because it is a terrible song.”
“By the way, they have the right to sing a song of their choice and no crank should be on there telling them what to sing and how to sing it.
“This is a free Ireland. It is not an Ireland where we stop people from singing a song – ‘You can’t sing that because it mentions the IRA; that is a stupid kind of an argument.”
Taoiseach Micheál Martin said he did not believe the players meant to offend when they sang the tune.
“I don't believe any malice was intended here at all, these things can happen,” he said.
“What really has struck me was the speed and totality of the apology, the comprehensive nature of that.”
Main image: Steve Baker MP. Picture by: Alamy.com