Micheál Martin doesn't mince his words when asked about 'Zombie' debate 2 months ago

Micheál Martin doesn't mince his words when asked about 'Zombie' debate

Debate continues to rage around 'Zombie'.

Tánaiste Micheál Martin has dismissed claims that The Cranberries song 'Zombie' is partitionist, describing them as "absurd" and "shocking".


The Tánaiste appeared on Newstalk Breakfast on Wednesday (27 September) in which he was asked for his opinion on the ongoing debate surrounding the classic track.

Written by Dolores O'Riordan after a 1993 IRA bomb explosion in Warrington killed two children, 'Zombie' has been in the news due to its recital by Irish rugby fans in Paris at the weekend after Ireland's historic victory over South Africa.

The singing of the track has garnered a mixed reception, with some saying the song discredits the experience of nationalists in Northern Ireland during the Troubles.


Comedian Tadhg Hickey, who was part of a debate about the song on RTÉ's Upfront programme on Monday, has described 'Zombie' as "the perfect partitionist anthem", adding:

"It encapsulates the complete lack of understanding or even basic compassion in the south for the lived experience of Northern nationalists.

"But you see, it's not me / It's not my family."


Micheál Martin weighs in on 'Zombie' debate

While interviewing the Tánaiste on Wednesday, Newstalk Breakfast presenter Ciara Kelly asked him if he had "a view on the singing of 'Zombie'".

She then said: "Do you think that it is partitionist? Do you think that this is people overthinking? Do you think this is something that is a storm in a teacup? What's your position?"


In response, Martin asked: "How do you mean this is partitionist?" before adding: "That's absurd. I think that's a shocking interpretation of the song.

“I mean, the killing of any child is a reprehensible act. Bombs that were put in the middle of streets which resulted in the death of children is reprehensible.

“A song that reflects that and a song that sort of captures, in the moment, the horror of a young songwriter who isn't looking at it from any sort of political context other than the inhumanity of the act, that's a song of the time.

“It's a song that deserves to be sung. I just do not understand why anybody would try to undermine the lyrics of that song."


He also said: “You plant a bomb in a street, you’re bombing children, you’re bombing innocent civilians.

"There were too many civilians and too many children unnecessarily and immorally murdered and killed as a result of those bombs.

“It's not partionist to say that. We should salute the artistry of a great songwriter rather than attack the singing of a song.”

Martin's comments follow the Tánaiste earlier in the month weighing in on the also ongoing debate surrounding the Wolfe Tones' song 'Celtic Symphony'.

At the time, he stated that songs like 'Celtic Symphony' have a "simplistic narrative" that is "hurtful to victims of violence".

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