Former Ireland stars Trevor Ringland and Shane Byrne have played down the significance of Irish fans singing along with a Cranberries tune at the Rugby World Cup in France.
Zombie was played out over the loud speaker after Ireland’s stunning 13-8 win over South Africa at the Stade de France on Saturday, with thousands of Irish supporters belting out the popular song from the stands.
The likes of Ireland stars Johnny Sexton and Peter O’Mahony also joined in with gusto while on the field.
Footage of fans singing along has become an online sensation, but it has stirred up controversy in some quarters due to its perceived anti-IRA stance.
Released in 1994 on The Cranberries’ second studio album No Need to Argue, the song was written in response to a bombing campaign the IRA carried out in Britain in the early 1990s.
Ireland fans belted out a tune from The Cranberries as they celebrated a famous win over South Africa at the Rugby World Cup in Paris on Saturday
Irish fans joined in with the singalong as ‘Zombie’ was played over the loudspeaker
In March 1993, Johnathan Ball and Tim Parry, aged 3 and 12 respectively, were killed as the IRA detonated a bomb in Warrington which injured 56 people.
A month later, a bomb went off in the City of London, leaving one person dead and 44 injured.
The lyrics of Zombie also reference the 1916 Easter Rising, lost children and tanks, which has led to it being interpreted as an anti-Troubles song and an anti-war tune as a whole.
And Byrne believes fans in Paris were simply revelling in Ireland’s famous win over the defending champions Springboks, rather than looking to make a political statement.
‘Everyone there is just happy,’ the former hooker, who won 41 caps for Ireland and played four Tests for the British and Irish Lions, told Upfront with Katie Hannon on Irish broadcaster RTE on Sunday.
‘Yes, there’s a meaning behind it. Yes, it was originally written as a protest song.
‘But sometimes, a good tune is just a good tune.’
Johnny Sexton (above) and Peter O’Mahony also sang along on the field
Former Ireland hooker Shane Byrne said fans were not trying to send a political message, despite the song’s perceived anti-IRA stance
Former Ireland star Trevor Ringland believes fans were simply revelling in a famous win over the Springboks as they joined the singalong
Byrne then elaborated further, suggesting fans singing along to ‘Zombie’ in Paris weren’t trying to send a political message just as anyone chanting a popular pro-IRA refrain was not expressing support for the paramilitary group.
‘Would you say the same about “up the RA”?,’ he continued.
“Ninety-nine per cent of the people that do come out and sing “up the RA” at inappropriate times are not even remotely thinking about the meaning behind it.
‘They’re just wrapped up in the moment that they’re in, as were all the people in Paris that day.’
Ringland, who won 31 caps for Ireland, struck a similar tone and noted rugby was one of only two sports in which the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland compete under the same flag.
‘Rugby always showed a different way on this island: it showed violence was never necessary and it’s about building relationships across this island between people,’ the former vice-chairman of the Ulster Unionist Party, told the Belfast News Letter.
‘It’s a sporting event, but at the same time it’s about showing how to do proper relations across this island, and I think [the singalong on Saturday night] paid credit to The Cranberries for that song and for taking the stand that they did.
‘I think those that condemn it maybe they should look deeper at what that song was standing against, and how it also represents what we see on the sporting field.’
The late Dolores O’Riordan, lead singer of The Cranberries, always maintained the song wasn’t intended to show support for either Protestants or Catholics
The late Dolores O’Riordan, lead singer of The Cranberries, always maintained the song wasn’t intended to show support for either Protestants or Catholics.
‘I don’t care whether it’s Protestant or Catholic, I care about the fact that innocent people are being harmed,’ she told Vox.
‘That’s what provoked me to write the song.
‘It was nothing to do with writing a song about it because I’m Irish. You know, I never thought I’d write something like this in a million years. I used to think I’d get into trouble.’
Post source: Daily mail