Posted by: the watchmen | November 1, 2008

Welcome Home Royal Irish!

Saturday, 1st November 2008

Anger over ‘banned’ parade tune

Regimental tune Killaloe will not be played by the RIR band at the Belfast homecoming parade
Regimental tune Killaloe will not be played by the RIR band at the Belfast homecoming parade
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Published Date: 31 October 2008

SOLDIERS have reacted angrily to an MoD decision that the Royal Irish Regiment’s band should not play the regimental march at Sunday’s homecoming parade.
Several members of the military – some senior officers – contacted the News Letter yesterday to express dismay that the Royal Irish band had been instructed not to play Killaloe.

The MoD denied that it had “banned” the Royal Irish Regiment’s band from playing the regimental march during Sunday’s homecoming parade to placate republicans and suggested that hymn tunes may be more appropriate on a Sunday.

An Mod spokesman said: “The band has been asked to consider that it is the Sabbath and take cognisance of the fact that it is the Sabbath in the tunes that they play.”

But one soldier who contacted the News Letter said that that could not be the reason as the Royal Irish band frequently led the regiment on Sundays and out of church services to the rousing strains of Killaloe.

“It’s the first tune that the band strikes up,” he said.

“Not only will Killaloe not be played on Sunday, none of the marches of all the old Irish regiments which were moulded together to make the Royal Irish Regiment will be played.

“I think it is an absolute disgrace, particularly as the regimental colours will not be carried through Belfast either.

“I now think the band will be playing tunes such as Star of The County Down, the Green Glens of Antrim and completely nondescript military marches like Army of The Nile.”

And the military figure said that it was ironic that the regiment had been asked not to play its traditional music, as many of the songs now embedded in the Army’s Irish regiments have republican roots.

“The music they would have been playing included two Royal Irish regimental tunes – Men of The West and Back to Donegal – which are two republican songs,” he said.

“It is absolutely absurd because the Royal Irish has a tradition of Irish dancing and Irish music – tunes like The Minstrel Boy and Kelly The Boy From Killanne, both republican songs


I think the reason they want to pull the plug on Killaloe is that it’s a good rousing march, the best in the British Army.”

And, speaking of dissident republican protests, he said: “In no other country would police and the Government facilitate a protest by the people who bombed Omagh.”

Castlereagh UUP councillor Michael Copeland said that a number of people connected to the Royal Irish Regiment had also contacted him about the MoD’s musical instruction.

“I can understand to a degree the reasoning for this, given that it is a Sunday, but I do not believe that reason will be seen by many as anything other than an excuse,” he said.

“Soldiers and regiments are rooted in traditions and whilst I, as a former soldier of the UDR, do not have any particular affinity with Killaloe, it will have a resonance among many attending the parade.”

And UUP peer Lord Laird said that it was “absurd” for the Royal Irish regimental march to be banned while the regiment was marching.

“We want a parade for our soldiers similar to the homecoming parades in any other British city,” he said.

“The concept of banning Killaloe is outrageous, and that people seem to forget, in their rush to placate Sinn Fein, is that a high proportion of the Royal Irish are not from the unionist community and many of them are from the south of Ireland.”


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