ra row | 

Poll finds most Irish people do not believe singing ‘Up the Ra’ glorifies IRA

59pc of respondents said they “don’t think people mean to glorify the IRA by singing these songs”

Irish players chanting ‘Ooh, ah, up the ‘Ra’

Seoirse MulgrewIndependent.ie

A majority of people in Ireland believe that those who sing songs containing pro-IRA chants do not “mean to glorify the IRA”, according to a poll.

Voters were asked in an Irish Times/Ipsos opinion poll, about the recent controversy that arose after Republic of Ireland’s women’s soccer team players were filmed singing along with the Wolfe Tones song Celtic Symphony, which contains the line 'Ooh ah up the 'Ra'.

The team and manager Vera Pauw apologised for the "hurt" caused by the singing of the controversial song after footage circulated online of celebrations in the dressing room after Ireland beat Scotland to qualify for the World Cup for the first time.

Pauw vowed that the squad, and association, would learn from the episode and avoid a repeat.

Footage emerged online of the squad in the dressing room at Hampden Park after the 1-0 win over Scotland, which secured a place at the 2023 World Cup finals, singing along with the republican band’s song.

59pc of respondents said they “don’t think people mean to glorify the IRA by singing these songs”.

This was the most common view across all age ranges, social classes and regions, but was strongest in Munster with 66pc, among those aged 18 to 24 at 63pc and middle-class voters at 63pc.

However, The Irish Times poll also found that just over a fifth of voters agreed that “people shouldn’t sing songs with IRA chants as they are offensive to IRA victims”.

This view was most popular among older voters, with 36pc of those over the age of 65 agreeing. Just 11pc of the youngest voters aged 18 to 24 agreed.

12pc of respondents said that they think “it’s okay to sing songs in praise of the Provisional IRA” while 7pc said that they had no opinion.

Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael voters were most likely to think that people should not sing these songs.

Among Sinn Féin voters, just 13pc of respondents said that people shouldn’t sing them, while almost one in five said that it’s okay to sing songs in praise of the Provisional IRA.

Almost two-thirds of Sinn Féin voters said that people don’t mean to glorify the IRA by singing chants.

Following the controversy surrounding the Irish women’s team, the FAI issued a statement of apology and Pauw then expanded on that to state her own alarm at the song and the hurt caused.

"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," Pauw 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.

"It was unnecessary. I have spoken already with several players about it and the one who posted it is devastated, she is crying in her room. She is so, so sorry. I said to her that it is wrong but not only wrong from her, it's wrong that that song has been sung with the meaning that it has.”

The poll was conducted among 1,200 adults at 120 sampling points across all constituencies between October 23 and 25.

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