Friday, November 23, 2007

Celtic in IRA songs row

Celtic fans reacted with fury today after the head of a club shareholders' group defended singing IRA songs at Parkhead.

Dr Jeanette Findlay, chairwoman of the Celtic Trust, said songs about the IRA were "songs from a war of independence going back over a hundred years".

But her comments, during a BBC radio interview, sparked an immediate response.

ngry texts, and some members said they would quit the Trust.

One said: "Her answers made me cringe. Please tell the rest of the UK that not all Celtic fans are blinkered Irish nationalists, and that some of us are football fans."

Another texted: "Her one-eyed hyprocritical views are disturbing and a ludicrously perverted take on history. She doesn't represent the majority of opinion of Irish nationalist Celtic fans."

Jim Divers, of Celtic Supporters Association, said the association opposed any offensive add-ons to chants. He added: "We will continue to support the club's many on-going anti-sectarianism initiatives, which are backed by the vast majority of supporters."

Dr Findlay spoke out during an interview with Nicky Campbell about the Trust's opposition to the appointment of John Reid as Celtic FC's new chairman.

The Trust opposed the appointment of the former Cabinet Minister because of his role in the Iraq War.

Mr Campbell said that people who had relatives murdered by the IRA might find songs about the organisation as offensive as Dr Findlay found Dr Reid's appointment.

She replied: "I'm sure the parents of Peter McBride, murdered by two British soldiers who were then reinstated under John Reid's watch, will also find that offensive. There's deaths on both sides."

A spokesman for Celtic FC said: "There are around 27, 500 Celtic shareholders .

"We believe that Ms. Findlay claims to speak for only around 200 of these, a very very small minority, as yesterday's 99.1% vote in favour of Dr. Reid's appointment as Chairman clearly underlines.

"These comments are totally unrepresentative of the Celtic support and we are delighted with the way in which our fans currently support the team."

Publication date 20/11/07
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