Leinster Rugby has apologized after "Celtic Symphony" by The Wolfe Tones was played at the RDS Arena in Dublin during the warmup for a match on Sunday, January 1.
"A song was played over the PA at the RDS Arena this evening that shouldn't have been played,” Leinster Rugby said in a statement on January 1 after “Celtic Symphony” was reportedly played that day.
“Leinster Rugby has taken measures to ensure it doesn't happen again and apologises sincerely for its use and for any offence caused."
According to the Irish Independent, “Celtic Symphony” by The Wolfe Tones - which features the somewhat controversial lyric “ooh, ahh, up the ‘RA” - was played after Leinster’s win over Connacht on Sunday.
Rúaidhrí O'Connor, the chief rugby correspondent with the Irish Independent, tweeted on Sunday from the RDS that he heard the “ooh, ahh, up the ‘RA” lyrics played in the stadium.
'Ooh Ah, Up the Ra!' rings out at the RDS as the Leinster players do a lap of honour and the crowd empties. Not sure the PA has been following the news cycle— Rúaidhrí O'Connor (@RuaidhriOC) January 1, 2023
Sunday's incident occurred just a few weeks after the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) was handed a €20k fine by UEFA after players from Ireland's national women's team were filmed singing "ooh, ahh, up the 'RA" in a dressing room after their historic win over Scotland in October.
Here is footage of the Republic of Ireland players singing 'Ooh ah up the 'Ra' in their dressingroom. The manager, players and FAI have subsequently apologised #rtesoccer https://t.co/k3XLuHblmU pic.twitter.com/KhC9YTbn3J— RTÉ Soccer (@RTEsoccer) October 12, 2022
After footage of the incident in Scotland began to circulate on social media, the Irish players as well as their manager Vera Pauw issued apologies. Still, the incident prompted a UEFA investigation and the subsequent fine.
In response to Sunday’s incident in Dublin, The Wolfe Tones asked, “Why the need to apologise …"
Brian Warfield, the band's frontman, penned the "Celtic Symphony" in 1987 for the centenary of Scotland's Celtic Football Club, which occurred a year later. The song references graffiti he saw in Glasgow which said: "I see graffiti on the walls - for the Celts! for the Celts! / Graffiti on the walls says we're magic, we're magic, / Graffiti on the wall... / It says oh ah up the 'RA, say ooh ah up the 'RA."
“Maybe those complaining should actually listen to the song in context,” the band tweeted on January 2.
“The usual suspects make yet another attempt to alienate Irish songs …”
Why the need to apologise … maybe those complaining should actually listen to the song in context … the usual suspects make yet another attempt to alienate Irish songs … https://t.co/H3We2MEaDQ— The Wolfe Tones 🇮🇪 (@wolfetones) January 2, 2023
The Wolfe Tones had similarly defended Ireland's national women's team, saying at the time “let the people sing.”