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U2 will not axe song about UVF bombings from Belfast setlist

By Allan Preston

Published 12/11/2015

U2 singer Bono
U2 singer Bono
The aftermath of the Monaghan bombing

U2 have said they will not leave out a song paying tribute to victims of the 1974 Dublin and Monaghan bombings when they play in Belfast next week.

Guitarist The Edge remains adamant that the song Raised By Wolves - which is accompanied by onstage visuals of the 34 victims and the sound of explosions going off - will stay in the setlist.

The performance is a musical tribute to victims of the worst day of the Troubles.

In a series of UVF car bombings on May 17, 1974 in the Republic, 33 civilians and a full-term unborn child were killed.

Three hundred others were injured when the bombs went off during rush hour in Dublin and 90 minutes later in Monaghan.

U2 are currently playing to packed crowds on their Innocence and Experience world tour, and the Belfast Telegraph revealed last month that the Dublin band would be playing Raised by Wolves in Belfast, which includes the lyrics: "I take a look and now I'm sorry I did... 5.30 on a Friday night 33 good people cut down."

The song is also preceded by sounds of explosions which will reverberate around the SSE Arena on November 18 and 19.

Ulster Unionist politician and former Lord Mayor of Belfast Jim Rodgers had criticised the tribute as "one-sided" for excluding many other victims of the Troubles and said he fears the performance could "cause a riot".

He added that: "You have to remember that so many people in Northern Ireland have lost those close to them over 40 years of continuous violence."

But asked if U2 would play the song in Belfast, The Edge told Hotpress magazine: "Well, I think that we will, but we will be taking account of sensitivities for sure in the way that we stage the show. That is something we do wherever we are."

The Edge, real name Dave Evans, explained that U2 wrote the song because of their own personal experience.

"Larry (Mullen, U2 drummer) lost a neighbour in the bombing on Talbot Street. That street is where my bus stop was," he said.

"We'd have been in town often, trying to get the bus home, and Bono just saying, you know, 'Literally, right there.' We really felt that. We're not drawing from it as simply reflecting a moment in history: it's part of our personal narrative."

Margaret Urwin of the campaign group Justice for the Forgotten, which represents families of those killed in bombings, told the Irish Times she hadn't heard anyone complain apart from Mr Rodgers. "They are certainly not partisan," she said of U2.

She also told The Irish Times that many of the victims' families provided photographs to be used as part of the visual montage at the U2 concerts.

Belfast Telegraph

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