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Wolfe Tones singer says it’s ‘ridiculous’ Leinster Rugby issued apology for playing 'up the RA'

The song 'Celtic Symphony' came on over the speakers as the players did a lap of honour

Sunday World

Wolfe Tones songwriter Brian Warfield has said it is “ridiculous” that Leinster Rugby issued an apology after the 'Ooh ah, up the RA' song 'Celtic Symphony' was played at Dublin's RDS following their win over Connacht on Sunday.

The song, which features the controversial lyrics, came on over the speakers as the players did a lap of honour after their 41-12 win and was faded out after one verse and chorus.

A Leinster spokesperson issued a statement apologising for the song being played: “A song was played over the PA at the RDS Arena this evening that shouldn’t have been played.

"Leinster Rugby has taken measures to ensure it doesn’t happen again and apologises sincerely for its use and for any offence caused.”

But Warfield, lead songwriter for the group told Newstalk Breakfast this is going too far.

"I think it's ridiculous to be honest now," he said.

"It's gone to the extreme now that I think they want to erase the IRA from our history books, from our schools, from everywhere.

"It is the foundation of our State - Michael Collins and the IRA, that's the people that we're supporting.

"We never said at any stage that it was going to be about the Provisional IRA, it doesn't say that, it doesn't say anything like that.

"In fact it could be about the Egyptian sun god, Ra.

"I never said what it was and I'm the writer".

Asked if he could understand why some people are offended by any IRA connotations, he replied: "I'm very offended by the fact that they wear poppies, and force people to wear poppies, on football fields and TV and everywhere else.

"That's celebrating the memory of the people who caused havoc in our country.

"The British army were no little peacekeepers when they came to Ireland - they were terrible.

"They used plastic bullets, we know about the collusion, we know about the bombings in Dublin, the bombings in Monaghan.

"We know about all the things that they created here in this country.

"Everytime they wear a poppy and force people - I don't mind them wearing a poppy if they want to - but they're forcing people.

"That insults me and insults a lot of Irish people".

He insisted that the song is not about IRA glorification.

"When I wrote that song it was very, very simple.

"I was walking through Glasgow and I see graffiti on the wall and it says 'Up the Celts, Up the Celts.

"And then I see 'Ooh ah up the RA' - the people in Glasgow have a right to remember their history and their story.

"There was more people came from Glasgow to Dublin for the 1916 Rising - let's remember them, they're the RA," he added.

The song gained notoriety in October when the Ireland Women's team were videoed singing the chorus in the dressing-room of Hampden Park as they celebrated qualifying for the World Cup.

UEFA subsequently fined the FAI €20,000 for "the violation of the basic rules of decent conduct" after the incident, while manager Vera Pauw apologised unreservedly.

In response to the apology issued by Leinster, the band said on social media: “Why the need to apologise...maybe those complaining should actually listen to the song in context...the usual suspects make yet another attempt to alienate Irish songs”.

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