Unionist angered by ‘rebel’ song

Derry hunger striker Patsy O'Hara. (1802MM14)
Derry hunger striker Patsy O'Hara. (1802MM14)

A controversial song written in memory of the 1981 hunger strikers has entered the top 40 on the British pop charts.

The song, ‘The Roll of Honour,’ was promoted in an online campaign led by a group of Glasgow Celtic football fans who had hoped it would get to number one.

The song, recorded by rebel music band, ‘The Irish Brigade,’ peaked at number 24 on Friday before falling back to number 33 on Sunday.

It was promoted by the supporters group Fans Against Criminalisation (FAC) in protest at the Offensive Behaviour at Football legislation which was introduced to combat sectarian incidents at Scottish football grounds.

The sing was written in memory of the ten IRA and INLA hunger strikers who died in Long Kesh prison in 1981. Two of the hunger strikers, Patsy O’Hara and Micky Devine, were from Derry, while three others were from the county.

The song has angered unionist politicians, including East Derry DUP MP Gregory Campbell, who said it glorifies paramilitaries. He also criticised the involvement of soccer fans and supporters clubs in promoting the song and said it has nothing to do with sport.

Mr Campbell has also called on the BBC not to play the song if it entered the top 40. Only the first two lines of the song were played on air.