Northern Ireland news

Zombie: Tánaiste says Cranberries lyrics 'not partitionist' and song 'deserves to be sung' following rugby row

A still from the video for 1994's Zombie by The Cranberries, featuring singer Dolores O'Riordan
Paul Ainsworth

TÁNAISTE Micheál Martin has said people should "salute the artistry" of The Cranberries' song Zombie, as he defended the track being sung by fans following Ireland's Rugby World Cup victory over South Africa.

Mr Martin spoke out over claims the 90s rock anthem was "partitionist" and said it "deserves to be sung".

The Tánaiste was speaking on Newstalk FM's Breakfast show on Wednesday, and referred to the row that erupted after the song was sung by thousands of fans at the Stade de France in Paris last Saturday as it was played over speakers.

The song, penned by Cranberries frontwoman Dolores O'Riordan and included on their 1994 album No Need to Argue, was written following the IRA bombing of Warrington in England.

Two children were killed in the February 1993 attack - three-year-old Johnathan Ball and 12-year-old Tim Parry.

Zombie has been described by some as an anti-IRA song due to its lyrics, while others have claimed it downplays what the nationalist community in the north faced during the Troubles.

Read more:

Zombie by The Cranberries: What is the song about?

Zombie: IRA victim's father says Cranberries song is ‘not partisan' after Ireland rugby row

Playing of 'anti-IRA' anthem Zombie as Ireland rugby team celebrate victory against South Africa sparks online scrum

Cork comedian Tadhg Hickey described the track as "the perfect partitionist anthem" in a social media post following Saturday's match.

Colin Parry, the father of Warrington victim Tim Parry, said this week he believed the track was a "peace song". He learned the song was written about the bombing following the death of Dolores O'Riordan in 2018.

Speaking during his appearance on Newstalk FM, Micheál Martin referred to the young victims of the attack that inspired the lyrics.

"Bombs that were put in the middle of streets which resulted in the deaths of children is a reprehensible act, and a song that reflects that, and a song that sort of captures in the moment the horror of a young songwriter who isn't looking at it from any sort of political context other than the inhumanity of the act, that's a song of the time and it's a song that deserves to be sung," the former Taoiseach said.


The Ireland rugby team celebrate their win on Saturday in Paris. Picture: Press Association


"I just don't understand why anybody would try to undermine the likes of that song."

Mr Martin said: "There were too many innocent civilians and too many children unnecessarily and immorally murdered and killed as a result of these bombings. It's not partitionist to say that and we should salute the artistry of a great song rather than attack the singing of a song."

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