While Ireland’s history with the UK hasn’t been in the news for quite a while it’s been popping up more and more as of late.
Following the release of a video showing the Ireland women’s football team singing a song with a pro-IRA chant, UFC’s Conor McGregor expressed his support for the squad.
Following their Tuesday victory over Scotland in the World Cup play-off, a video surfaced of the Irish players chanting Wolfe Tones’ Celtic Symphony. The players were heard shouting the song’s chorus—”ooh ah up the Ra”—while celebrating in the locker room in the video. This video was live-streamed on goalkeeper Grace Moloney’s Instagram page.
McGregor tweeted an altered footage of Sky Sports presenter Rob Wooton saying that members of the Ireland squad had apologized for the chant with his “I’d like to apologize to absolute nobody” statement after McGregor defeated Eddie Alvarez in their 2016 bout. The former two-weight champion added the emojis for the Irish flag and a love heart in the “Congrats ladies” caption.
Bellator held the 285 card in Dublin, Ireland.
During the event the audience would go on to happily chant ‘Lizzy’s in the box’ mocking the passing of Elizabeth II.
Ireland has had a contentious relationship with the monarchy. And unlike the US, Ireland had conflicts with the United Kingdom in the latter part of the 20th century. As per wikipedia, a key issue was the status of Northern Ireland. Unionists and loyalists, who for historical reasons were mostly Ulster Protestants, wanted Northern Ireland to remain within the United Kingdom. Irish nationalists and republicans, who were mostly Irish Catholics, wanted Northern Ireland to leave the United Kingdom and join a united Ireland.
This tension escalated through a number of incidents described as ‘low key war’ from the 1960s until 1998 when Good Friday Agreement was signed.
The Football Association of Ireland has subsequently apologized for any offence the song may have caused. UEFA has opened an inquiry into the video. Aine O’Gorman, a striker for the Ireland squad, and Chloe Mustaki, a midfielder, have both expressed regret.
“We’re all really sorry, it’s a massive lapse of judgement on our end. There was lots going on when the final whistle went and we absolutely didn’t mean to cause any hurt on our end, so we apologize for that absolutely.”
Vera Pauw, the manager of Ireland, denounced the video and maintained that her players expressed sincere regret for performing the song. She told BBC, “We’re sincerely, deeply sorry for what happened. It doesn’t matter if the players meant [harm] or not, as it doesn’t mean they shouldn’t realise what they are doing.”
“This is something that goes very deeply into the history of Ireland and as soon as you hurt people you do something wrong and we’ve done something wrong here.”
Ireland advanced to the World Cup finals, which will be held in Australia and New Zealand in July and August of next year.