Northern Ireland news

Martina Anderson's Brexit 'rant' referred to Troubles song The Men Behind The Wire

Paddy McGuigan, writer and composer of "The Men Behind The Wire"

While it may have been lost on most of her fellow MEPs, Martina Anderson's reference to "armoured cars and tanks and guns" was from one of the best known songs of the Troubles.

The Men Behind The Wire was written and composed by west Belfast man Paddy McGuigan of the Barleycorn folk group as an anti-interment ballad and released in December 1971.

It begins: "Armoured cars and tanks and guns, came to take away our sons. But every man must stand behind, the men behind the wire."

McGuigan was himself later interned for three months, with many believing the motive behind his imprisonment was his authorship of the song.

It reached number one in the Irish charts in January 1972, where it remained for three weeks.

After a gap of a week it then returned to the top spot for two weeks in February.

Royalties from the recording were donated to families of internees.

The Men Behind The Wire remained one of the most popular 'rebel' songs throughout the Troubles and was covered by acts including the Wolfe Tones, Liam Clancy and the Flying Column.

Watch Martina Anderson address fellow MEPs in Strasbourg on Monday. She quoted from the anti-interment song The Men Behind the Wire and told prime minister Theresa May to "stick it where the sun doesn't shine" over her Brexit plans.

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