Micheál Martin says songs like 'Celtic Symphony' are 'hurtful to victims of violence' 2 months ago

Micheál Martin says songs like 'Celtic Symphony' are 'hurtful to victims of violence'

In a new interview, the Tánaiste has weighed in on the recent debate surrounding the Wolfe Tones.

Tánaiste Micheál Martin has said that songs like 'Celtic Symphony' have a "simplistic narrative" that is "hurtful to victims of violence".

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He made the comments in an interview with Newstalk Breakfast on Tuesday (12 September) ahead of a Fianna Fáil think-in in a response to a question about the Wolfe Tones' much publicised Electric Picnic set earlier this month.

While the Irish rebel band saw record crowds during their festival appearance, many have expressed concern over audiences singing along to the refrain of their track 'Celtic Symphony', which contains the lyrics: "Ooh, aah, up the Ra," referring to the IRA.

Highlighting how Martin has accused Sinn Féin of triumphalising the Troubles, Newstalk Breakfast's Shane Coleman asked the Tánaiste: "What's your take on the singing of 'Ooh, aah, up the Ra' at the Electric Picnic?"

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The presenter also claimed that while attending Ireland sports matches over the last week, he heard the chant sung, adding to his question for the Fianna Fáil leader: "Do you have a problem with that? Do you worry about that?"

celtic symphony

Micheál Martin on 'Celtic Symphony'

In response, Martin said: "Look... I mean... singing songs happens. It's happened in previous occasions.

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"As a young person growing up in the 1970s, all of those songs were the rage.

"I'm not sure that they serve any purpose at the end of the day. I would have thought we'd moved beyond that.

"The songs have a simplistic narrative that, in many ways, is hurtful to victims of violence - we’ve got to call it straight - and some terrible atrocities were committed by the Provisional IRA.

Following up, Colman asked the Tánaiste if he felt such songs rewrote history, to which the politician replied:

"There's no question that Sinn Féin have been very focused on rewriting history and creating a narrative that justifies its position.

"So, Sinn Féin's view is that the Provisional IRA campaign and the atrocities and so on were justified and they do everything they possibly can through commemorations and so on to do that.

"What worries me today is... when you justify all of that and triumphalise it, you're sort of saying to people 'the gun works'. It didn't in Northern Ireland."

You can listen to the full interview with Martin right here.

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