Anger at Celtic fans’ support for song ‘glorifying’ hunger-strikers

Celtic's Home ground, Park Head
Celtic's Home ground, Park Head

A group representing victims of terrorism has written to Celtic Football Club urging it to publicly distance itself from a “disgraceful” initiative by fans.

Campaign group Fans Against Criminalisation caused widespread anger when it organised the promotion of a song commemorating IRA hunger strikers - in response to government attempts to eradicate sectarianism from Scottish football.

Recorded by the Irish Brigade, the song Roll of Honour temporarily reached number 24 on UK music download charts after they gave permission for its use by the Celtic supporters’ amalgamation.

In a statement the band said the song was written at a time of great social and political upheaval.

“It was to commemorate the sacrifice of ten young men who died in the Hunger Strike of 1981. They, too, were protesting against criminalisation,” it said.

Kenny Donaldson of IVU said his group had grave reservations over the “naked, vitriolic pro terrorism sentiments” used in connection with the football club’s name.

“There is no place within society for the promotion of terrorism and criminality.

“Such practices simply must be rooted out or we will condemn a further generation to the hatred and intolerance practiced by some of their forebears who legitimised the use of violence as a means to further their so-called political objectives.

“This ‘Roll of Honour’ song is an outrage and will have the effect of causing great hurt and trauma to those who have already lost most in this society already - the innocent victims and survivors of terrorism,” Mr Donaldson added.

The fans’ campaign follows the introduction of the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communication (Scotland) Act.

One Celtic fan has already been convicted under the act for singing the Roll of Honour song.

DUP MP Nigel Dodds called the campaign to get the song in the charts “sectarian”.

He said: “On sales to date it seems likely that this song will feature in the top 40, but many people would find it deeply offensive if a song glorifying terrorism were to be played during such a programme.”

Ulster Unionist justice spokesman Tom Elliott has also expressed his disgust at the Celtic fans’ campaign.

“Quite what this has to do with the first British football club to win the European Cup is beyond me.

“What is clear however, is that Celtic FC has a major problem with the presence of these people in their midst, and I therefore call on Celtic to totally disown them and the fans organisations they claim to represent and to state what actions they propose to take against those who would seek to use their association with Celtic FC to both defend and glorify terrorism.”

Last night Celtic Football Club had not responded to a request for comment.