Belfast Telegraph

Feile an Phobail organisers crack down on pro-IRA messages at festival

The Wolfe Tones perform at Feile in the Falls Park, west Belfast on August 11th 2019 ( Photo by Kevin Scott )
The Wolfe Tones perform at Feile in the Falls Park, west Belfast on August 11th 2019 ( Photo by Kevin Scott )

Feile an Phobail organisers took steps to ensure there were no pro-IRA flags or merchandise allowed within the venue during a Wolfe Tones gig at the weekend.

The DUP hit out at the "glorification" of IRA terrorism during the band's headline show in Falls Park on Sunday, amid claims the crowd chanted pro-IRA slogans during the performance.

There had been heavy criticism of the festival last year after IRA flags were flown and pro-IRA chanting during the Wolfe Tones concert.

The organisers of the festival, however, had taken several steps to ensure there was not a repeat of some scenes last year.

Flags were checked at the gates to ensure that no pro-IRA flags could be brought into the venue, more security ensured there was no major incidents and no retailers were allowed to sell merchandise within the venue.

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The Wolfe Tones perform at the Falls Park in Belfast on 12th August 2018 (Photo by Michael Nolan)

DUP Councillor Brian Kingston said "huge questions" need to be asked of the festival's organisers.

“Following the widespread condemnation of events at last year’s concert by the Wolfe Tones it is depressing that once again the ‘headline act’ of this festival has led a crowd of mainly younger people in  chants glorifying IRA terrorism which killed over 1,700 people during the Troubles and injured many thousands more," he said.

"The only purpose which this concert appears to serve is to encourage as much anti-British sentiment as possible, with “ooh, aah, up the ‘Ra”, “go on home British soldiers” and “f*** your Union Jack” all forming a central part of the performance."

At one stage, the Wolfe Tones also played a rendition of God Save the Queen.

However, Mr Kingston said organisers need to explain why the "glorification of terrorism" remains a part of the festival.

The Wolfe Tones perform at Feile in the Falls Park, west Belfast on August 11th 2019 ( Photo by Kevin Scott )
The Wolfe Tones perform at Feile in the Falls Park, west Belfast on August 11th 2019 ( Photo by Kevin Scott )
The Wolfe Tones perform at Feile in the Falls Park, west Belfast on August 11th 2019 ( Photo by Kevin Scott )
The Wolfe Tones perform at Feile in the Falls Park, west Belfast on August 11th 2019 ( Photo by Kevin Scott )
The Wolfe Tones perform at Feile in the Falls Park, west Belfast on August 11th 2019 ( Photo by Kevin Scott )
The Wolfe Tones perform at Feile in the Falls Park, west Belfast on August 11th 2019 ( Photo by Kevin Scott )
The Wolfe Tones perform at Feile in the Falls Park, west Belfast on August 11th 2019 ( Photo by Kevin Scott )
The Wolfe Tones perform at Feile in the Falls Park, west Belfast on August 11th 2019 ( Photo by Kevin Scott )
The Wolfe Tones perform at Feile in the Falls Park, west Belfast on August 11th 2019 ( Photo by Kevin Scott )
The Wolfe Tones perform at Feile in the Falls Park, west Belfast on August 11th 2019 ( Photo by Kevin Scott )
The Wolfe Tones perform at Feile in the Falls Park, west Belfast on August 11th 2019 ( Photo by Kevin Scott )
The Wolfe Tones perform at Feile in the Falls Park, west Belfast on August 11th 2019 ( Photo by Kevin Scott )
The Wolfe Tones perform at Feile in the Falls Park, west Belfast on August 11th 2019 ( Photo by Kevin Scott )
The Wolfe Tones perform at Feile in the Falls Park, west Belfast on August 11th 2019 ( Photo by Kevin Scott )
The Wolfe Tones perform at Feile in the Falls Park, west Belfast on August 11th 2019 ( Photo by Kevin Scott )
The Wolfe Tones perform at Feile in the Falls Park, west Belfast on August 11th 2019 ( Photo by Kevin Scott )
The Wolfe Tones perform at Feile in the Falls Park, west Belfast on August 11th 2019 ( Photo by Kevin Scott )
The Wolfe Tones perform at Feile in the Falls Park, west Belfast on August 11th 2019 ( Photo by Kevin Scott )
The Wolfe Tones perform at Feile in the Falls Park, west Belfast on August 11th 2019 ( Photo by Kevin Scott )
The Wolfe Tones perform at Feile in the Falls Park, west Belfast on August 11th 2019 ( Photo by Kevin Scott )
The Wolfe Tones perform at Feile in the Falls Park, west Belfast on August 11th 2019 ( Photo by Ellie McAuley )
The Wolfe Tones perform at Feile in the Falls Park, west Belfast on August 11th 2019 ( Photo by Kevin Scott )
The Wolfe Tones perform at Feile in the Falls Park, west Belfast on August 11th 2019 ( Photo by Kevin Scott )
The Wolfe Tones perform at Feile in the Falls Park, west Belfast on August 11th 2019 ( Photo by Ellie McAuley )
The Wolfe Tones perform at Feile in the Falls Park, west Belfast on August 11th 2019 ( Photo by Kevin Scott )
The Wolfe Tones perform at Feile in the Falls Park, west Belfast on August 11th 2019 ( Photo by Kevin Scott )
The Wolfe Tones perform at Feile in the Falls Park, west Belfast on August 11th 2019 ( Photo by Kevin Scott )
The Wolfe Tones perform at Feile in the Falls Park, west Belfast on August 11th 2019 ( Photo by Kevin Scott )
The Wolfe Tones perform at Feile in the Falls Park, west Belfast on August 11th 2019 ( Photo by Kevin Scott )
The Wolfe Tones perform at Feile in the Falls Park, west Belfast on August 11th 2019 ( Photo by Kevin Scott )
The Wolfe Tones perform at Feile in the Falls Park, west Belfast on August 11th 2019 ( Photo by Kevin Scott )
The Wolfe Tones perform at Feile in the Falls Park, west Belfast on August 11th 2019 ( Photo by Kevin Scott )
The Wolfe Tones perform at Feile in the Falls Park, west Belfast on August 11th 2019 ( Photo by Kevin Scott )
The Wolfe Tones perform at Feile in the Falls Park, west Belfast on August 11th 2019 ( Photo by Kevin Scott )
The Wolfe Tones perform at Feile in the Falls Park, west Belfast on August 11th 2019
The Wolfe Tones perform at Feile in the Falls Park, west Belfast on August 11th 2019 ( Photo by Kevin Scott )
The Wolfe Tones perform at Feile in the Falls Park, west Belfast on August 11th 2019 ( Photo by Kevin Scott )

"At some stage Feile an Phobail needs to move into the modern era and recognise the great harm such a pre-meditated and sectarian performance causes to community relations as well as hugely damaging their own brand," Mr Kingston said.

"Neither can Belfast City Council ignore this abuse of a council facility and council funding. DUP colleagues and I will be pursuing this matter with senior council officers.”

Feile an Phobail director Kevin Gamble said: “Over the last nine years, The Wolfe Tones have performed at the August Féile.

“The Wolfe Tones are one of Ireland’s most famous musical bands, and have played to sold out audiences right across Ireland, the UK, the USA, and indeed the world, as well as performing on the biggest show in the country, The Late Late Show on RTE.

“Following our own event, The Wolfe Tones will once again be heading to The Fleadh Cheoil na h-Eireann, the biggest traditional musical festival in the world, and then onto a UK tour with performances in the London Irish Centre and right across the UK.”

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