A publicly-funded community festival in west Belfast has been reported to the Charity Commission for NI after pro-IRA chanting was heard during a headline gig by Irish rebel music band The Wolfe Tones.
Footage emerged of some people in the 10,000-strong crowd chanting “up the RA” during the Feile an Phobail concert in Falls Park on Sunday.
Last year’s performance by the band also caused controversy after Tricolours daubed with IRA slogans were flown by the crowd.
As reported by the News Letter on Monday, unionist councillors have called for the band to be barred from taking part in future festivals.
Kevin Gamble, director of Feile an Phobail – a registered charity – defended the booking of the band and said the festival was “not in the business of censoring”.
He told BBC’s Nolan Show: “We welcome people from a multitude of different opinions and communities. Anybody who comes to the Feile are provided a platform to speak.
“In no way am I going to ask a band to stop singing a song. That is censorship and not what Feile is involved in doing.”
Loyalist blogger Jamie Bryson said he has reported Feile an Phobail to the Charities Commission.
“There will be significant unionist attention on the Northern Ireland Charity Commission and how they deal with the issues around Feile’s endorsement of the promotion of IRA terrorism,” he tweeted.
“Failure to robustly investigate will confirm what many perceive to be an inherent bias.”
The commission told the News Letter it could not confirm whether or not it is has received report regarding the feile.
A spokesperson added: “This is because the commission is an effective and fair regulator of Northern Ireland charities and, as such, would not wish to prejudice any current or potential investigation.”
There have also been calls for Belfast City Council – one of the principal funders of the feile – to carry out an investigation.
Ulster Unionist Party Alderman Jim Rodgers told the News Letter that – as well as urging the council to launch a probe into the matter – he is seeking an urgent meeting with police to discuss the incident.
“I understand there was a small police presence at the concert on Sunday and no action was taken at the time, which is understandable,” the former Lord Mayor of Belfast added.
“But I want to know what steps the police are going to take now to address what happened. We need fair and balanced policing.”
The PSNI confirmed it has received no complaints regarding the Wolfe Tones concert at Feile an Phobail on Sunday.