PSNI urged to probe Wolfe Tones ‘pro-IRA slogans’

Tommy Byrne from the Wolfe Tones at the West Belfast Feile, just before the band's appearance at Ardoyne Fleadh
Tommy Byrne from the Wolfe Tones at the West Belfast Feile, just before the band's appearance at Ardoyne Fleadh

The chief constable has been asked to probe a band which chanted pro-IRA slogans in light of an ongoing prosecution of a Christian pastor.

On Sunday the Wolfe Tones led a large audience at the Ardoyne Fleadh in Belfast in singing ‘Up the Ra’ during performances of their song ‘Celtic Symphony’.

The performance was captured by a camera operator on the stage and later uploaded to the internet.

TUV leader Jim Allister wrote to the chief constable to ask for an investigation along similar lines to that of Pastor Jim McConnell of The Metropolitan Tabernacle in north Belfast.

In May last year the pastor called Islam “heathen” and “satanic” in an online sermon and is now being prosecuted for the offence of “sending, or causing to be sent, by means of a public electronic communications network, a message or other matter that was grossly offensive”.

In his letter Mr Allister wrote: “You will note that the band [Wolf Tones] clearly lead the crowd in chanting support for a proscribed terrorist organisation.

“Given that a case is currently before the courts where a pastor has been accused of breaching the Communications Act for a sermon which was posted online in which he attacked Islam in comparatively mild language – there was certainly no suggestion in anything which he said that people should support terrorists who set out to kill Muslims – I write to inquire what action the PSNI intend to take against the Wolf Tones?”

The PSNI responded that it has not yet received any correspondence from Mr Allister.

In June, unionists queried why a range of provocative comments by public figures have not been prosecuted in like manner as Pastor McConnell.

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams said recently of unionists that “the point is to actually break these b*****ds”, while the Druids group said during a concert last year in west Belfast that it was time British troops and Orangemen “all f****d off back to England”.

The leader of Belfast Islamic Centre, Dr Raied Al-Wazzan, also said recently of Isis in Mosul: “Since the Islamic State took over, it has become the most peaceful city in the world.”

In June the DUP wrote to the PSNI and Public Proseccution Service asking about the “differential” treatment.