Following the emergence of a video showing the singing of pro-IRA chants in a bar in Dromore, the Ulster Fleadh Executive Committee has come out in strong condemnation of the contents of the video.

There was uproar and calls for future funding of the Fleadh to be looked at by those in the political and public spectrum as a result of the video, but the Fleadh Committee confirmed the event – at which the video was made – was unaffiliated with the Fleadh.

In their statement, the Executive Committee said: “This afternoon [Friday, July 29], the committee of the Ulster Fleadh was made aware of a video which was posted on social media which included chants referencing the IRA.

‘Sadness and anger’

“As a committee, we wish to condemn in the strongest possible terms the content of the video, and express our sadness and anger at what was visible and audible from the footage.

“The video was taken at an event unaffiliated with the Ulster Fleadh in a public premises in Dromore, County Tyrone, and was in no way part of the event programme.”

The statement said Ulster Fleadh is “proud to be a positive celebration of culture and we have worked hard to build relationships across all communities in our society”.

It continued: “Indeed, part of the Fleadh programme this year included marching bands from different traditions, and this is something we believe is central to bringing communities together and highlights our shared rich musical and cultural heritage.”

The committee said if any member of An Comhaltas is identified to have participated in this chant, or any other sectarian activity, they will take steps to ensure this is dealt with in the strongest possible terms.

“This sort of incident has no place within the promotion of culture, does nothing to build trust and relations across communities, and the Ulster Fleadh Executive Committee has no hesitation in condemning it in the strongest terms.”

Ulster Unionist MLA Tom Elliott, who called on any future funding for Fleadh events to be looked at, welcomed the clarification and condemnation by the Ulster Fleadh Executive Committee.

He said: “It is a positive step that the Ulster Fleadh committee have condemned this action; hopefully, public representatives from all parties will do the same, and take a strong stance against such hatred and sectarianism.

“I trust the PSNI will also carry out an investigation into this event, as I believe this behaviour constitutes a hate crime.

‘Terrorist organisation’

“It is unfortunate that some young people from the Nationalist or Republican community have such an ingrained bitterness by their support for the IRA – a terrorist organisation that murdered hundreds of innocent people in our society.”

DUP MLA Deborah Erskine also welcomed the statement from the UIster Fleadh Executive Committee, and called on political representatives to condemn the incident.

She said: “There is a particular onus on political representatives who have glorified and eulogised members of the IRA [to speak out].

“Such actions only serve to offer justification to people such as those in the video that it is somehow acceptable to engage in this behaviour.

‘Distance themselves’

“There is an opportunity now, however, to follow the leadership from others and distance themselves from this kind of behaviour,” said Mrs. Erskine.

Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, that provided £35,000 in funding to the Fleadh, said it “sought and received assurances” that the event was not part of the Ulster Fleadh programme and therefore did not receive any Council support.