Is English superstar singer Dido an IRA sympathizer? Is she just plain insensitive?
Inquiring minds of the Unionist persuasion in Northern Ireland want to know, as some pols over there - or, more precisely, one crank - claim that the singer is thoughtless because she included verses from a famous IRA rebel song in her new single.
Her song, "Let's Do the Things We Normally Do," features the line from the Irish classic "The Men Behind the Wire," - "armored cars and tanks and guns, came to take away our sons, but every man must stand behind, the men behind the wire."
According to a report in the British Daily Mail, "The Men Behind the Wire" is a bad, bad song! "Penned by Paddy McGuigan, a member of the Barleycorn folk band from the infamous Falls Road in Belfast, (the song) is now associated with extreme Republican movements such as Continuity IRA and the Real IRA."
Dido, whose most famous single, "White Flag," is a mainstay of lite radio stations all around the world, has boasted of her Irish roots in many an interview, which means, according to one Unionist leader, that she must have known that using the aforementioned lyric would cause offense - at least in his book.
"Given her Irish roots, it is inconceivable that she doesn't know the background of the wording," hissed Gregory Campbell, a member of the British Parliament from Derry and also the minister for sports, arts and leisure in the devolved Northern Irish government.
"'She must know it was written about people who were murderers, arsonists and terrorists. She should clarify her position so that her fans and the wider public knows where she stands on these things."
This is how an arts minister uses his bully pulpit? Aren't there more interesting things going on in the burgeoning Northern Ireland cultural landscape than this nonsense?
So she referenced a line from a really great Irish song - big whoop! (And the bull about the song now belonging to the IRA splinter groups is just that, bull - Daily Mail, please take note!)
Dido's probably mighty pleased with the attention, though, as any publicity is good publicity when it comes to promoting a new CD.
"Safe Trip Home" also includes a song called "Grafton Street." Yup, this English rose certainly qualifies as Irish!
"My dad's Irish music was such a huge influence on (my brother) and I," says the singer about her late father, William Armstrong. "As a child, I remember making requests to him - he would sing a different song every night. I used to see the world in terms of the songs that he sang for us."