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Delaney apologises after clip of him singing republican song emerges

NewsBy Shuki Byrne
Apology: Delaney 'sorry' if he caused any offence
Apology: Delaney 'sorry' if he caused any offence

FAI chief John Delaney has apologised after a video of him singing a republican song emerged online.

The video was shot in the Bath Pub and was uploaded to YouTube at the weekend. It was captured just after Ireland's 4-1 victory over the USA last week. 

In the clip, the FAI head can be heard singing the controversial IRA song 'Joe McDonnell' by the Wolfe Tones. 

McDonnell was a member of the Provisional IRA who died in 1981. He spent 61 days on hunger strike after being imprisoned in 1977 for a firearms conviction following a bomb attack.

Delaney told Ryan Tubridy this morning the footage was captured "slyly". 

"Joe McDonnell was a song that sang in my presence and I chipped in with on a number of occasions in the past," he said.

"I'm not someone who supports violence at all. In fact over a large number of years I have been working closely with cross-border initiatives in football to break down barriers.

"I'm not a violent person. My grand-father fought in the Civil War and he also fought in the War of Independence. I have always said I have a nationalist background.

"When you sing a song like that you don't believe in every word that is in the song.

"I sing a large number of songs and it's normally done in a private way when there is a sing-song. It's a typically Irish thing we do, we sing songs amongst a group and you expect that to be kept within the group."
 
"Unfortunately on occasions people use camera phones in a sly way when they are not in your company and then they try to make something bigger out of it."
 
"If the song offends anyone of course I'm sorry, it's not in my nature to want to offend people."
 
The video drew criticism after Roy Hodgson apologised for England supporters who were heard singing anti-IRA songs in Scotland. 
 
Delaney said that Irish ballads have been apart of the Irish football team for years, but apologised if any offence was caused. 
 
"Sean South from Garryowen has been sung on the Irish team bus for years, from the Jack Charlton era right up to the current era."
 
"Again it is done in private, but if people want to tape this things in what I would call a sly way and make them public, it's wrong. Though I do accept if I have upset anybody I'm sorry."