'whataboutery' | 

Patrick Kielty says anybody ‘can sing whatever they want’ in wake of ‘Up the Ra’ chanting

‘Even the RA aren't singing Up the RA these days, it's a very weird thing. The RA are going 'Up the social housing, let's not talk about the RA'

Patrick Kielty

Neil FetherstonhaughSunday World

Patrick Kielty has weighed in on the debate around controversial chants such the recent 'Up the RA' sung by the women's football team.

The comedian and broadcaster said it was “timely” to have such discussion as “it shows you the complexities of the island”.

He was speaking after the women's football team’s controversial post-World Cup qualifier win over Scotland that was followed just days later when group of people were also filmed singing the chant in Dublin Airport.

However, Kielty told The Hard Shoulder this is part of a much wider debate.

"Even the RA aren't singing Up the RA these days, it's a very weird thing," he said.

"Even the RA are going 'Up the social housing, let's not talk about the RA'.

"In a weird way it's timely; I think that it shows you the complexities of the island.

"The idea that you have 5,000 people getting together for a Shared Island Forum just a couple of weeks ago, and then you've got this sort of taking people's attention.

"I think if people have to ask themselves questions because of this, I think it's a good thing.

"It's something that we've had to do up North for years."

Kielty told Hard Shoulder host Kieran Cuddihy there is no point being 'pearl-clutchy' about what happened.

"I think it sort of falls very much into the idea of Three Green Fields; it's much easier to actually sing the rebel song about the united Ireland than kind of not to in order to have it.

"There's no point being pearl-clutchy about any of this - people are who they are and believe what they believe.

"It's weird the 'whataboutery' which has come out of it - what about this and what about that - I just feel that anybody can sing whatever they want, that is Orangemen and football supporters and football teams.

"Ultimately if anyone is remotely interested in a united Ireland, if you look at census results in the North, there's a huge chunk of people there in the middle which call themselves Northern Irish.

"If you're sitting in Dublin and somebody said: 'You know what lads, I think it's probably time for you to sit and think about rejoining Britain and the Commonwealth - and you had a Northern Ireland team in the dressing room singing The Sash - you'd probably go to yourself: 'Do I really want to be part of that?'

"I think it's a conversation that kind of needs to be had, and I think it's come at a timely point," he added.

A speech about a United Ireland given by Kietly went viral following the controversial video of the Women’s football team singing ‘Up the Ra’.

Kielty, from Co. Down, was just 16-years-old when his father Jack was murdered by the UDA back at the height of the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

Speaking last December at the Irish government’s Shared Island initiative in Dublin, the 51-year-old gave an impassioned speech about the potential of a United Ireland and how people living in the Republic need to pay more attention to matters in the North.

Today's Headlines

More Irish Showbiz

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices

WatchMore Videos