People glorifying the IRA either don’t remember or don’t understand the ‘dreadful, appalling and horrific crimes’ they committed during the Troubles, according to Shane Coleman.
The Newstalk Breakfast presenter was speaking after the Féile An Phobail concert in Belfast on Sunday was labelled a 'hate fest' after the crowd joined in pro-IRA chants during the Wolfe Tones set.
Meanwhile, another band who played the event were criticised for unveiling a mural in west Belfast that depicts a burning police car with the words “Níl fáilte roimh an RUC” (The RUC are not welcome.)
In another incident, Scottish footballer John Herron was suspended by Larne Football Club on Monday for wearing a 'Tiocfaidh ár Lá' shirt.
The mural might be art but it doesn't make it any less depressing.
— Colum Eastwood 🇺🇦 (@columeastwood) August 14, 2022
“I think as times goes on there is more of a glorification of the IRA or ‘The RA’ to use the vernacular,” Shane said on Newstalk Breakfast this morning.
“I find it kind of distasteful because I think we forget what that 25 years was like and some of the dreadful, appalling, horrific crimes committed by the IRA during that time.
“It must be absolutely galling to the victims of that.”
Meanwhile, fellow presenter Vincent Wall said “the best that can be said” of those that glorify the IRA now is that they don’t remember the Troubles.
“They don’t remember and don’t understand,” said Shane.
“I mean, the idea of the IRA being defenders of the Catholic community, I mean, they murdered Catholics as well in large numbers. They don’t know that or have forgotten that.”
‘Oh Grace just hold me in your arms…’
The Wolfe Tones sing the famous Irish ballad Grace and 10,000 people join them in song! pic.twitter.com/0AO4NUaAvf
— Féile an Phobail (@FeileBelfast) August 14, 2022
Both presenters agreed that the issue highlights a wider discussion about why it is acceptable to sing older rebel songs about the War of Independence or earlier Irish rebellions.
“I have sung rebel songs myself and the argument is, ah, they’re harmless songs about a lot of things that happened in that past,” said Vincent.
“Then the question is, when in time does it become acceptable, if ever, to sing songs that glorify violence?
“I don’t know the answer actually. With the awful events from the 1970s to 20 years ago in the North of Ireland, will it become acceptable in two or three future generations to sing that because simply it has faded in the memory and become romanticised?
“It is a burning question. I know most reasonable people would have a big issue with singing ‘Up the Ra' now and with visual images glorifying recent violence.
“Is that just because it’s recent and we remember it?”