Saturday, 26 March 2011

The Celtic supporters club and the glorification of terrorism

Last Sunday there was a match between Ranger FC and Celtic FC in Glasgow.  Here in Northern Ireland many local supporters of these teams watched the game on television and in Londonderry members of the Paul McStay Celtic Supporters Club gathered to watch the game in a local bar.

According to their Bebo site members of the Paul McStay Celtic Supporters Club use Peadar O'Donnell's Bar in Waterloo Street as their meeting-place and last Sunday they were joined in the bar by members of the Spirit of Freedom Republican Flute Band.

According to the Facebook site of the Spirit of Freedom Republican Flute Band: "Will be playing in Peadar O'Donnells, Watterloo Street, on Sunday 20th.  We will be playing in Support of Paul McStay Csc Doire for the Celtic and Rangers match. Were on at 2pm before and after the match. Band Members need to be there with all band equipment."

Lest there be any doubt that this actually happened, the Spirit of Freedom kindly posted a youtube clip of themselves playing outside the bar in Waterloo Street on their page  The youtube clip shows clearly the bass drum with a masked IRA terrorist on one side, holding an RPG7 rocket launcher, and a masked IRA terrorist with a rifle on the other side of the drum.

There was no parade and so this is not a matter for the Parades Commission although it is a timely reminder for the new Commission of the nature of this band.  However it may well be a matter for the PSNI, since this performance with this drum took place in the centre of the city, and it is certainly a matter for Celtic FC. 

Celtic should surely take appropriate action against the Paul McStay Supporters Club for organising such an event for a Celtic match.  Do they think it appropriate for one of their supporters clubs to invite a band that carries such a blatant endorsement of republican terrorism?

Meanwhile I am sure that Paul McStay himself will not want to have his name associated with the glorification of terrorism. 

Indeed it is rather amusing that the Paul McStay Celtic Supporters Club have on their badge a harp, a green version of St Andrew's Cross, an Irish tricolour, and the words 'against the famine and the crown'.  However Paul McStay, who played for Celtic from 1982 to 1997, was happy to accept an MBE from Her Majesty the Queen and is therefore a 'Member of the Order of the British Empire'. 


  1. Hi Nelson,

    I am in complete agreement with you. Glorification of terrorism from all sides is unacceptable and needs to be stamped out. For the sake of balance, I assume you would be equally critical of the banner used by Old Boyne Heroes LOL 633 who choose to commemorate Shankill Butcher Robert "Basher" Bates, amongst others?

  2. as far as I know the banner of LOL 633 does not commemorate Robert Bates.

    One thing is certain and that is that no Orange banner has pictures of masked gunmen with armalites or RPG7 rocket launchers.

  3. It is pretty clear that this is an unguarded moment for this flute band, and as you say yourself, this was not a public parade. Are you seriously suggesting that no members of unionists flute bands engage in this sort of behaviour in bars and clubs across the province? That none of them have had anything to do with the outrageous militaristic imagery of the murals on the Newtownards Road or the Lower Shankill. Or Loyalist 'shows of strength' on the 11th night?

  4. Andrew - You refer to 'an unguarded moment'. The band carry these drums at all their parades and there is ample photographic evidence of that. I personally saw them a few years ago with these drums at a republican parade through the centre of Belfast. I know of no PUL band with depictions of masked and armed terrorists on the drums. Do you?

    Secondly, is this appropriate for a Celtic supporters club?

  5. My name is Pearsey Gallagher. Founder member and current chairman of Paul McStay CSC, I make no appology for inviting the Spirit of Freedom flute band for entertaining our members and supporters on the day in question. Unlike many other bands across the spectrum who indulge in the playing of racist/sectarian tunes, physical, verbal abuse and spitting on passers by this band plays tunes in memory of the men and women who have fought and died in the pursuit of Irish freedom. If Nelson feels offended by this then maybe he should take it up with his Queen the person who honoured the very same freedom fighters in our capital city Dublin this wk. She who bestowed the mbe on Paul McStay, so is he suggesting the psni should investigate his monarch's actions as well as those of the Spirit of Freedom Flute band. On behalf of our club members and the band, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Nelson for his keen interest in our welfare and if he would like any further information on our upcoming events please do not hesitate to contact me via the Paul McStay CSC facebook page. Yours in Celtic. Big Pearsey. Hail Hail.
    PS which is more abhorent a flute band playing to a willing audience or a party leader and his cronies sporting paramilitary regalia and invading a sleepy border town in Co Monaghan terrorising it's citizens (if the shoe or red beret fits nelson).


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