Saturday, 22 February 2014

Republican Flute Bands and their Volunteers

Vol Sean McIlvenna RFB colour party with paramilitary uniforms.
Members of the Vol Sean McIlvenna RFB with 'replica' weapons
The Volunteer Sean McIlvenna Republican Flute Band glorifies IRA terrorism but it is not the only republican band to use the word VOLUNTEER in its name and thereby associate itself clearly and unequivocally with an illegal organisation, namely the IRA.

There is also the Volunteer Martin Doherty Republican Flute Band, based in Glasgow, which is part of Cairde na hEireann and thereby aligned with Sinn Fein, as indeed is the Volunteer Sean McIlvenna Republican Flute Band.  Martin Doherty was shot dead on 21 May 1994 by a UVF gang who were attempting to plant a bomb at a pub in Dublin.  The pub was being used that night for a fund-raising event for IRA prisoners.  Doherty had joined the IRA in 1981 and the following year was given a 7 year prison sentence for terrorism.  In August 1994 the IRA shot dead Martin Cahill, a member of the Dublin underworld, who was said to have helped the UVF carry out the attack.
Cairde na hEireann has produced a CD of republican flute bands with such interesting tunes as 'Say Hello to the Provos' by the Volunteer Sean McIlvenna Republican Flute Band and 'Armalite Mary D' by CRFB, presumably Coatbridge Republican Flute Band.  For those not familiar with 'Say Hello to the Provos', the words of the chorus are - Say hello to the Provos, say hello to the brave, Say hello to the Provos, and Ireland shall be saved.

The Volunteer Ed O'Brien Republican Flute Band from Wexford commemorates a member of the IRA who died 'on active service' on 18 February 1996.  He was killed after a bomb he was carrying exploded prematurely on a London bus.  Two other passengers and the driver of the bus were also injured and when police searched O'Brien's home they found 15 kg of semtex.  The inquest into his death heard that O'Brien was probably responsible for planting a similar bomb in a London telephone box on 15 February but it was deactivated by the police.  These explosions came just days after the London docklands bombing (Canary Wharf bombing) on 9 February, in which 2 people were killed

The Volunteer Billy Reid Republican Flute Band was named after Billy Reid from the New Lodge area of North Belfast.  He was killed on 15 May 1971 during a gun-fight with soldiers.  According to local sources he was the IRA who shot Robert Curtis, the first soldier to be killed by the IRA in the Troubles.  The band was formed in Scotland 1978 but has now been renamed the Parkhead Republican Flute Band because of disagreement with Sinn Fein and mainstream Irish republicanism.  Apparently the family of Billy Reid still back mainstream republicanism.

The Volunteer Patricia Black Memorial Flute Band was formed in the Garngad area of Glasgow in 2010, with the approval of members of Patricia Black's family.  According to a report on the Newry Republican blog, it is 'politically aligned to Eirigi, the Irish republican socialist political party'. 

The report also contained this observation: 'At a time when republican flute bands seem to be dwindling, it's uplifting to see a new RFB on the road, it's also a welcome development for Eirigi who are growing from strength to strength.'

It has also been referred to as the Volunteers Patricia Black and Frankie Ryan Memorial Flute Band - Black and Ryan were Provisional IRA volunteers who were killed on 15 November 1991 when a bomb they were handling exploded prematurely.  The two terrorists were killed by their own bomb.

The practice of incorporating the word Volunteer in the name of republican flute bands seems to be restricted to Scotland and the Irish Republic but such bands do come across to Northern Ireland and should be subject to the same rules as other bands, that they should not carry or wear anything that associates them with proscribed or terrorist organisations.  This is an issue that the Parades Commission has ignored for far too long.

1 comment:

  1. Loyalist bands are'nt allowed paramilitary names on their flags or drum skins so why should the republicans be allowed to?, because there is no challenge against it,sweep sweep appease the IRA at every time,disgusting


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