Search icon


22nd Dec 2022

“Out the door with that auld PC nonsense” – Ronan Collins apologises for ‘Fairytale of New York’ radio edit

Dave Hanratty

Oh good, we’re doing this again.

Another year, another ‘controversy’ over the playing of ‘Fairytale of New York’; a beloved song that contains a homophobic slur within its lyrics.

Look, let’s just state this as plainly as can be before we move on – if a person from the LGBTQ+ community has a problem with the original lyrics of ‘Fairytale of New York’ and finds it uncomfortable when people sing it out loud in their presence, or dismiss their issue with the song as ‘woke PC nonsense’ or whatever you want to call it… I’m sorry, but you need to take their opinion on board and respect the completely fair argument they’re putting forward.

And yes, yes, you may well say ‘It’s not intended as a homophobic slur in the context of the song’, or the classic ‘Well, actually, the origins of the word mean something very different’, to which we say… well, it’s still a word that is predominantly regarded and weaponised as a homophobic slur.

You can still enjoy ‘Fairytale of New York’, just be sound to people. It’s not that hard! Anyway, now that you’re all calling me a snowflake, let’s check in with outgoing veteran RTÉ broadcaster Ronan Collins, who played the song on his penultimate radio show on Thursday, 22 December.

Much to Collins’ apparent chagrin, the edited-for-radio version that removes the F-bomb from the song was played instead of the original recording. Apologising to his listeners afterwards, Collins said:

“Before I check in on what I’m supposed to do; I want to apologise for playing that version, because that was the radio edit where it didn’t have the original words in it.

“And I’ve never, ever played that version before, and I should have listened in advance – because I always play the original. Out the door with that auld PC nonsense!”

Collins then threw to fellow broadcaster Joe Duffy to preview his upcoming afternoon show, leading his colleague to exclaim:

“43 years [on] the daily radio programme, 24 hours before he finishes, he makes a… you would have been sacked over that tomorrow, anyway.”

So, to recap – Collins apologised to his listeners for playing the version of a well-known song that didn’t have a homophobic slur in it. Cool. Happy Christmas, one and all.

LISTEN: You Must Be Jokin’ with Aideen McQueen – Faith healers, Coolock craic and Gigging as Gaeilge