Singing ‘Up the RA’ is more concerning than Ireland’s new unofficial rugby anthem Zombie by The Cranberries, the father of a schoolboy who died in the Warrington bombing has said.
In 1993, the IRA left two bombs in litter bins in the English town of Warrington; when the bombs detonated, two children were killed and 54 injured.
In the aftermath of the tragedy, Colin and Wendy Parry, whose son Tim died in the blast, set up a charity and have spent the decades since campaigning for peace and reconciliation.
The song Zombie was written by Limerick woman Dolores O’Riordain because she was so upset by the bombing but it is controversial among some sections of society.
The song includes the lyrics, ‘But you see, it's not me/ It's not my family’ - which some feel suggests indifference to the suffering of Northern nationalists.
Speaking to Newstalk Breakfast, Mr Parry said he did not think Ireland fans’ enjoyment of the song should be considered controversial.
“It struck me as, if anything, a peace song and a call for people to turn away from violence,” he said.
“It came as a surprise that there was a suggestion it was being used in some other sectarian way - which I couldn’t really understand.”
Last year, the Irish women’s football team were fined after a video emerged of the players singing ‘Up the RA’ after their victory over Scotland.
— NewstalkFM (@NewstalkFM) September 27, 2023
Wolfe Tones singer Brian Warfield condemned the fine as “totally one sided and unfair” but Mr Parry said he would much prefer people not to sing it.
“I think the other recent outbursts of ‘Up the ‘RA’ stuff that was going on is more of a concern because there is no ambiguity about what that’s about… That would cause me more concern," he said.
“Because, let’s face it, if one community starts to adopt that and sing that as if it’s perfectly normal, we all know what happens - action begets reaction.
“Anything that stokes the fires of the past, to me, should be consigned to the past and it’s about time, especially when young people start to sing these things, that they try and realise just the historic significance of these songs and how divisive they are.”
Main image: Colin Parry speaking at the 20th commemorative event of the bombing of the town center on the 20th March 1993. Picture by: Alamy.com