Northern Ireland

Féile an Phobail: Calls to investigate pro-IRA chanting

Féile an Phobail offices in west Belfast

Unionists have called for an investigation after pro-IRA chanting was heard at a west Belfast festival for the second year running.

Irish folk group The Wolfe Tones played a headline gig in front of more than 10,000 people at Féile an Phobail in Falls Park on Sunday night.

Footage has emerged which shows people chanting "Up the Ra" during the gig.

Kevin Gamble, director of Féile an Phobail, said: "The Féile are not in the business of censoring."

The festival is publicly funded through Belfast City Council.

DUP councillor Brian Kingston said the chants were "glorifying IRA terrorism".

"The only purpose which this concert appears to serve is to encourage as much anti-British sentiment as possible," he said.

He added: "There continues to be huge questions for organisers as to why the glorification of terrorism apparently must be an integral part of the west Belfast Festival".

DUP councillor Dale Pankhurst tweeted that such chants have caused anger within the unionist community.

'No censorship'

Mr Gamble told the BBC News NI's Stephen Nolan programme that the festival has welcomed The Wolfe Tones for the past 10 years and that he would not ask the band to stop playing certain songs.

"The Féile are not in the business of censoring," he said.

"Anybody who comes to the Féile are provided a platform for the last 31 years to express opinions."

A Belfast City Council spokesperson said that the Féile "presents an eclectic range of over 300 inclusive arts and cultural activities over a 10-day period enjoyed by people from across Belfast and beyond".

It added: "Whilst council supports the festival on this basis, funding provided is not to be used for commercial activity of which the Wolfe Tones event is one.

"As part of the terms of our funding the grant must comply with statutory equality provisions."

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