The Wolfe Tones frontman Brian Warfield has launched a vigorous defense of Sinn Féin politician David Cullinane who shouted "Up the Ra" after he was elected
The Wolfe Tones frontman Brian Warfield has likened the controversy surrounding Sinn Féin politician David Cullinane's "Up the Ra" comments with the controversy that surrounds the wearing of a British poppy.
In a series of tweets on February 12, Warfield said:
We don’t have to apologise for mentioning the IRA in a song or chant, I don’t hear anyone asking for an apology from those celebrating the British army by wearing a poppy to remember them. They were ruthless and we know of their tactics and collusion in Ireland, should we (1/3)— The Wolfe Tones ?? (@wolfetones) February 12, 2020
or are we going to ban the poppy in Ireland ? should we ! We have our heroes they have theirs respect that. Rule Britannia or Land of hope and glory Rebel Jingoistic English songs I’ve no problem with them. I don’t hear anyone shouting Are they appropriate songs to sing in (2/3)— The Wolfe Tones ?? (@wolfetones) February 12, 2020
public. give me a break. Tolerance is needed from all sides Up the Ra ... BW (3/3) pic.twitter.com/dwNoDmx8Eq— The Wolfe Tones ?? (@wolfetones) February 12, 2020
Warfield is the singer for the decades-old Irish rebel music group The Wolfe Tones, whose rendition of 'Come Out Ye Black and Tans' briefly topped the UK and Ireland iTunes charts in January.
TD Cullinane's "Up the Ra" controversy
Sinn Féin's David Cullinane, a TD (Member of Parliament), was subject to criticism when he shouted pro-IRA remarks just hours after he was elected on February 9 in a landslide in his Waterford constituency, receiving an impressive 20,500 votes on the first count and securing his seat.
In a celebratory speech that night, Cullinane was filmed in a Waterford pub saying: “They didn’t break the hunger strikers, they didn’t break Bobby Sands and Kevin Lynch, they’ll never break us, they’ll never break Sinn Féin.”
He concluded his speech: "Up the Republic, Up the Ra and Tiocfaidh ár Lá" - a popular republican slogan which translates to "our day will come."
Here’s the longer video of David Cullinane of Sinn Fein. pic.twitter.com/NRYP1vk0dO— Niall O'Connor (@NI_ALLO) February 10, 2020
The following day, as video of Cullinane's speech began to circulate online, the Sinn Féin TD defended his comments, saying that they weren't about the present day but instead referenced the infamous IRA hunger strikes of the early 1980s.
“I’m never going to distance myself from the hunger strikers and from people who joined the IRA for all sorts of different reasons. That’s a legacy issue,” Cullinane said.