Belfast Telegraph

Ardoyne Fleadh row: DUP slams decision not to take legal action over sectarian comments

By John Mulgrew

The DUP has slammed a decision not to take legal action over sectarian comments made during a north Belfast festival last month.

There was furious reaction after pro-IRA chanting and sectarian comments were made, during a set by Irish 'rebel band' the Druids at the Ardoyne Fleadh in August.

It prompted a series complaints made to police.

But on Tuesday afternoon, the PSNI said following an investigation into complaints, the Public Prosecution Service had said no offence had been committed.

Chief Superintendent Nigel Grimshaw said: "Police conducted a full and thorough investigation into complaints made and evidence was presented to the Public Prosecution Service (PPS).

"The PPS has provided pre-prosecutorial advice that no criminal offence has been committed."

The DUP's Nigel Dodds MP criticised the lack of any potential charges being brought.

"In Scotland prosecutions have been successfully pursued against those who sang the so-called Famine Song," he said.

Mr Dodds said the importance of the decision "should not be underestimated by the authorities".

"This decision will be challenged by the DUP at the Assembly, on the Policing Board and through any other avenue we can find," he said.

Footage was taken of a performance by Kildare band The Druids on the final night of the annual Ardoyne Fleadh.

One member of the band was filmed telling the packed-out crowd:

"As we stand here tonight in Ardoyne we're well aware that here in the occupied six counties of Ireland there are still over five thousand British soldiers parading around the streets of Ireland as if they owned it.

"It's about time that they took down their little Union jacks, it's about time that they got all their Orange comrades together, it's about time that they loaded up the bus and it's about time that they all f****d off back to England where they came from."

At the time a PSNI spokesman confirmed it had received "hate crime" complaints and inquiries were ongoing into the incident, which took place at Holy Cross Boys' School pitches in Flax Street.

The chair of the of the Ardoyne Fleadh Cheoil Eddie Copeland had previously said he regretted any offence cause by the concert last month.

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