Is “Fuck the IRA” offensive?

Angry Football Association officials could call an end to their relationship with the England band after ordering them to stop providing background music to anti-IRA chanting during the victory over Scotland.

The England supporters band played along to chants of ‘**** the IRA’ from the travelling fans inside Celtic Park during the first half of what was meant to be an international friendly.

“Fuck the Irish” obviously is, “Fuck the Catholics” obviously is.

But fuck the IRA? Fuck a marxist terrorist group that murdered hundreds over the years? Deals drugs, runs protection rackets even now?

Difficult, at beast, to regard that as offensive. Sounds more like an outbreak of good sense to me.

29 thoughts on “Is “Fuck the IRA” offensive?”

  1. As an Englishwoman of Irish Catholic descent, I shall take this as a heartwarming gesture of sympathy for the IRA’s many Catholic victims, particularly as many of the Northern Irish Catholics driven out of their homes and forced into exile by the IRA ended up in Glasgow.

  2. @PaulB: it’s true the Officials were the doctrinaire Marxists in the old days of the early 70’s. But the Provisionals have been long converted to good little Marxists for a very long time now, as a look over Sinn Fein’s platform makes clear.

  3. Catholic, PaulB surely you jest ? Catholic may be a convenient label, but catholic in any real religious sense, I don’t think so

  4. I think the question is whether “IRA” was being used as a short hand for “Irish”, or “of Irish descent”, and in this case it almost certainly was. Given the location and so on.

    For comparison a lot of Muslims have complained of anti al Qaeda chants being shouted at them as they walk down the street. Being opposed to al Qaeda can only be a good thing but in many cases it seemed to be just a cover for something else.

  5. PaulB,

    “Furthermore, with James Connolly we believe that the present system of society is based upon the robbery of the working class and that capitalist property cannot exist without the plundering of labour; we desire to see capitalism abolished and a democratic system of common or public ownership erected in its stead. This democratic system, which is called socialism, will, we believe, come as a result of the continuous increase of power to the working class. Only by this means can we secure the abolition of destitution and all the misery, crime and immorality which flow from that unnecessary evil.”

    – from Eire Nua: THE SINN FÉIN POLICY – The Social, Economic and Political Dimensions”, published by Sinn Fein in 1979. Link here.

  6. Of course it is offensive to Marxist-Leninists who believe that murdering anyone who obstructs, let alone opposes, the seizure of power by The Party is fully justified.

  7. I’ve been sat in pubs in rural Ireland when a ‘tin for the lads’ has been passed around. I never contributed.. am I now guilty of a hate crime?

  8. The real nutjob Old Firm fans don’t go to Scotland matches anyway, so the England fans’ anti- IRA chants would be wasted (or probably supported by the Tartan Army).

    The Sellick men support Rep of Ireland while the Red Hand mob on the other side follow England.

  9. “God’s way of telling us to burn more Catholics!”

    Bad history, mind; it was Roman Catholics who did the burning. (Except for witches who were ecumenically burned. Which is good.)

  10. ‘Fuck the IRA’ is not offensive.

    Chanting ‘fuck the IRA’ directly at Scotland fans, and thereby implying that the Scotland fans support the IRA, is most certainly offensive to Scotland fans, who presumably do nothing of the sort.

    It’s effectively chanting, ‘You love the IRA!’ and I hope everyone would find it offensive to have that shouted at them.

  11. Lol at the presumption of almost everyone here that they have the right to police the opinions and utterances of everyone else. Whether or not it is offensive is irrelevant to you or me.

    If the FA or whoever is in control of international football games thinks it shouldn’t happen at their games then that is up to them.

  12. So Much for Subtlety

    dearieme – ““Fuck the Catholics” certainly is offensive. They’d surely mean “Fuck the Roman Catholics”.”

    But only to Anglo-Catholics. What sort of Protestant likes dressing up in gowns and playing with bells and scents? Frankly it wouldn’t be that offensive as I suspect more than a few might be intrigued by the idea of being f**ked by several tattoo’ed, working class, sweaty Football fans.

    PaulB – “NS: The Marxists in Sinn Fein split off in the late 70s into The Workers Party, and Sinn Fein abandoned Eire Nua in the early 80s.”

    Some of the Marxists did. SF may have rejected that particular document, or not, but they continued to produce more in the same vein:

    http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/issues/politics/docs/sf/lecture/sf-lecture3.htm

    http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/issues/politics/docs/sf/lecture/sf-lecture7.htm

    Marxists they were.

  13. Witchsmeller Pursuivant

    On a point of footballing law, political chanting and displays are outlawed by UEFA irrespective of justification or offensiveness. If the match had been competitive, England would probably face a fine. At least four clubs have been fined this season after their fans displayed Palestinian flags during the Gazan conflict.

  14. So Much for Subtlety

    Dave – “The Telegraph had another piece on the subject, which did a surprisingly good job of explaining what’s wrong with the chants.”

    How is that good? It simply assumes that underneath their tattoos working class Englishmen are Nazis. That is trite, lazy and generally stupid. The Tellie continuing its evolution into the Guardian-lite.

    Why should expressions of English nationalism cause our Elders and Betters to wet themselves so much?

    dearieme – “That’s rather a Little Englander remark.”

    Thank you! You are too kind.

  15. It was a great night at Celtic Park on Tuesday. I think the media are upset that their story didn’t play out as they wanted it. They wanted us to cause trouble – there was none inside the ground or in the city centre beforehand. They wanted us to be intimidated by the “passionate” vocal support of the Scots – except for clapping along like trained seals to music blaring out from the tannoys the Scots were as comprehensively outsung on the terraces as their heroes were outplayed on the field. So the anti-IRA songs were a godsend to the media to create a story. Personally I don’t join in the IRA chants. If there was a referendum on them I’d vote no. But it doesn’t get in my top ten things to worry about list.

  16. I’m just amazed anyone thought this was newsworthy. Surely it’s the fact that England fans somehow managed not to kick anyone’s head in that’s the real man-bites-dog story.

  17. And when do you think “England fans” last kicked someone’s head in? There has been close to no problems with travelling (or indeed home match) England supporters for 14 years. Even back then it was a minority amongst a very large group.

    Maybe you just wanted to make a joke. But perpetuating this lie based on old facts gets tedious for those of us to whom it is addressed..

    I can only really speak for myself (and maybe my wife). But we had no inclination to kick anyone’s head in while we were in Glasgow for the pre-match drinks or at the match itself. Neither of us have tried but I am pretty sure we’d be no good at it even if we wanted to.

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