Belfast Telegraph

Wolfe Tones invite James McClean row DUP man Gregory Campbell to concert

By Chris Kilpatrick

Irish folk group The Wolfe Tones have invited DUP MP Gregory Campbell to a show after he criticised footballer James McClean for saying his favourite song is one the band sings about the IRA.

The Derry-born Sunderland and Ireland winger also hit back on Monday, describing the criticism as "pathetic".

On Friday Mr McClean said Broad Black Brimmer – a republican folk song that is sung by the group – was his favourite song.

The tweet prompted East Londonderry MP Campbell to call for Mr McClean's club boss, Kilrea-born Martin O'Neill, to act.

"As someone playing football at a professional level for Sunderland, McClean should be an example to young people," said Mr Campbell. "Three simple words should suffice – 'stick to football'. If he doesn't heed this then a final three words should be given – 'pack your bags'."

In a statement, The Wolfe Tones said: "It is ironic that, in 2013, unionist politicians try to chastise those who listen to Irish ballads. Gregory Campbell is welcome to attend any Wolfe Tone show for a lesson in history. The songs are a reflection of history, not the cause of it. To find the cause, some politicians need to look closer to home."

Mr McClean labelled Mr Campbell "sad", "bitter" and "pathetic".

He added: "According to Gregory Campbell I shouldn't be allowed to listen to Wolfe Tones. Ha. Someone give Greg a tissue and a big hug from me."

When told of the invite, the MP said he "would probably be busy".

"That's very, very kind of them. But given their repertoire, I hope they won't be too offended if I decline their very kind invitation," he said.

On Monday night, McClean's Twitter account appeared to have been closed.

Factfile

Broad Black Brimmer is a republican folk song written by Noel Nagle of The Wolfe Tones.

The song tells of a boy whose father is killed while fighting for the IRA in the 1920s, with the title referring to the wide-brimmed hat worn by many of the group's members at the time.

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