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Ireland’s Vera Pauw says UEFA probe into ‘Ra’ chant is ‘correct’ as ‘we did something wrong’

The Dutch manager said that while the players ‘didn’t mean anything’, it wasn’t an excuse

Vera Pauw

Sunday World

Republic of Ireland manager, Vera Pauw, has supported UEFA’s investigation into her players singing a pro-IRA song as she admitted, “we did something wrong”.

The Dutch manager said that while the players “didn’t mean anything”, it wasn’t an excuse.

“Our players are going out always to the schools, to kids, to clubs,” she said. “We are always there to be a role model for others.

“(It is) such a shame that this happened because nobody meant anything with it. I hope that we go into football now.

“There is a UEFA investigation, which is correct because there was a claim in it, and we need to face what’s coming out.

“But let me be clear: there’s no excuses and I hope that we’ve learned from it that you can sing the song your team is embracing, but you have to know your background.”

The Ireland team’s celebration of their qualifying playoff win over Scotland in their Hampden Park dressing room caused massive controversy.

The Football Association of Ireland (FAI) later apologised for a video that showed the team singing “Ooh ah, up the ’RA” which is associated with support for the Irish Republican Army.

There was further condemnation from Northern Ireland politicians after a video emerged showing a number of people appearing to chant ‘ooh ah up the Ra’ outside a bar in Dublin Airport.

The footage appeared to show a group of people singing and clapping along to part of the Wolfe Tones song Celtic Symphony, and chanting the controversial line from the 1987 track.

Former First Minister Arlene Foster criticised the scenes and said: “I know there are many good people in ROI who will be as outraged at this behaviour in a public place as I am.”

In the aftermath, a speech about a United Ireland given by comedian Paddy Kietly went viral.

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.

“In this year of centenaries, the ghosts of the past are easy to honour. It's way easier to sing a rebel song about a United Ireland than not sing it order to maybe have one. And yet we have to be honest with one another about who we are, how we feel and why we feel it,” he began.

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.

Sharing the speech on social media, one person wrote: “This is really excellent and well worth a listen given the week we've had.”

Another shared: “Ten minutes of Patrick that are well worth an investment of your time…”

However, not everybody shared the same sentiments.

“Are we now blaming the women's football team for preventing Irish reunification? Because that seems a bit excessive,” one person wrote.

“I literally do not want a united Ireland if it comes with suppressing our culture and music so no thanks,” another said.

Meanwhile, Ireland who are ranked 24th in the world, will make their tournament debut as they face co-hosts Australia in Sydney on the opening day, July 20.

They beat the Matildas 3-2 in Dublin last year in what Pauw called “a turning point” that instilled “real belief that we can do something and grow”.

“We are just going to live to the full and embrace it,” she said at the draw in Auckland on Saturday. “The more pressure, the better. It’s about a task that you have to execute, it’s not about how many people are in the stands. The bigger the stage, the better, because this is what we dreamed for.”

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