RTE resists pressure to censor festive hit over ‘anti-gay’ lyric

Former Pogues member Shane MacGowan
Former Pogues member Shane MacGowan

Irish broadcaster RTE has said it will not censor the word ‘faggot’ from the Pogues’ gritty Christmas hit Fairytale Of New York.

It issued a statement following a week of controversy during which a number of people spoke out against the use of the word, a derogatory term for gay people.

Irish broadcaster Eoghan McDermott raised concerns about the word being played as part of the 1987 song.

McDermott said he had asked two gay members of his team, with one favouring censoring the word while the other preferring the song not being played.

In a statement MacGowan, who married his long-term partner Victoria Mary Clarke last week, defended the use of the word in the song, saying it suited the character in the song who was singing it.

He said “it fitted with the way she would speak and with her character,” he wrote.

“She is not supposed to be a nice person, or even a wholesome person. She is a woman of a certain generation at a certain time in history and she is down on her luck and desperate.”

RTE said the song “will be continued to be played without any omissions”.