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Comedian Patrick Kielty says singing ‘Ooh, ah, up the Ra' won’t help united Ireland

The Down native was speaking about what a united Ireland might look like on Saturday night’s episode of The Tommy Tiernan Show

Patrick Kielty. Picture by Kevin Scott/Belfast Telegraph

Neasa CumiskeySunday World

Comedian Patrick Kielty has said that recent scandals involving sports teams chanting pro-IRA songs won’t Unionists feel “welcome” in a united Ireland.

The Down native was speaking about what a united Ireland might look like on Saturday night’s episode of The Tommy Tiernan Show.

“You can't physically unite the island and have nearly a million Unionists up the road joining this country without changing some furniture to make those people feel welcome,” he explained.

Tiernan asked: “What do you think they'd like?”

“I think you could probably start with not singing 'Ooh, ah, up the Ra' in the changing rooms maybe,” Kielty suggested.

But Tiernan interjected, saying: “That's so harmless, that's harmless.”

And Kielty replied: “I know it is, but, you know, what's funny about it is that if you were asked to rejoin the Commonwealth and you saw the Northern Ireland Ladies' Team up there singing ‘They're up to their neck in Fenian blood’ and singing the Sash, you'd sit there and think to yourself, 'Jeez, I'm not sure about that'. You see? Right?

“What I always say is, it's a lot easier to sing a rebel song about a united Ireland than not sing it to have it.”

Tiernan then agreed, adding: “Than to have the maturity to deal with the fact that it may actually be happening and it's going to affect people's lives in the Unionist population, that it's going to affect their lives in such a huge way. That we have to have the maturity and love to make that as okay as we can for them”.

Kielty continued: "Unionists don't need to convince anybody down here to join the UK. If there's going to be a border poll, the way that's going to work is that someone's going to have to convince Unionist people that their future is here. So there's going to have to be certain things, you know, mood music, whatever that is.

"I mean, like, the idea of, you know, how many Unionist TDs will be down here? You know? Like, the idea of Sinn Féin is the number one party in the north, the number one party in the south, but if they can't form a government there, Ireland will probably end up be[ing, you know, a united Ireland, may well end up being governed by a rainbow coalition of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, Greens, and Unionists.

"You can't ask people to come and join the country and not actually say, 'You're part of the country'. There's nobody up the road needs conversion therapy. They know they're British, the way that when I was growing up I knew I was Irish.

"If there's going to be a united Ireland, that Ireland is going to look different,” he added.

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