THE Irish national anthem is habitually played along with Ireland’s Call when Ireland host a home game, as was the case on Saturday at Thomond Park, Limerick.
This is the normal practice for home fixtures, whilst at away fixtures only Ireland’s Call is played.
When Ireland played at Ravenhill a few years ago, however, only Ireland’s Call was played; the national anthem of the UK was not played.
This caused some controversy at the time.
The explanation given was that the Irish national anthem was only played at home matches because the president was present and those Ireland supporters, myself included and indeed players of a unionist background out of good manners, stood respectfully for both anthems.
However, on Saturday, for the second time in recent years, the president of the Republic was not present at an international at Thomond Park and yet the Irish national anthem was still played.
Where is the “Ireland of equals” and “parity of esteem” in this?
How in all conscience can a unionist continue to support a team when their loyalties and feelings are so blatantly trampled on?