By Jonathan McCambridge and David Young, PA
DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson has asked the Government to use its influence to attempt to prevent further scenes of people singing pro-IRA songs.
Speaking following a meeting with Taoiseach Micheál Martin, Mr Donaldson said those responsible for singing the songs were poking unionists and victims of terrorism in the eye.
A video which was posted on social media at the weekend and appeared to show a group of passengers at Dublin Airport singing a song in support of the IRA was widely condemned.
The video features lyrics from Celtic Symphony by The Wolfe Tones.
Last week, a video showing members of the Ireland national women’s football team singing the same pro-IRA chant was condemned by victims of terrorism.
The Football Association of Ireland apologised for the video, which circulated online after Ireland qualified for the Women’s World Cup for the first time.
Speaking in Belfast, the DUP leader said: “We had the singing at the weekend and last week of songs that are deeply offensive to many people, including victims. And I recognise this isn’t just a problem on one side.
“But certainly when you have people who are role models in a community or society who are engaging in this kind of activity, it doesn’t do anything to create the kind of atmosphere that we need to make progress.
“And so we are asking the Irish government to use their influence in their jurisdiction to ensure that people desist from this kind of behaviour.”
The DUP leader also referenced a weekend attack on an Orange Hall in Co Down.
Police have said they are treating the attack where a window was broken at Finnis Orange Hall as a sectarian hate crime.
Donaldson said: “Over the weekend I was visiting a little Orange Hall, that through the whole period of the Troubles was never once touched.
“That hall is used by all sections of the community, and yet they had their windows smashed.
“There’s cause and effect. When people create a bad atmosphere, unfortunately, people do bad things.”
He said the Taoiseach agreed with him that “creating a febrile atmosphere or polarising opinion is not the way forward”.
He added: “And I think he also recognises that it completely undermines the notion put about by some of building a shared future and a shared island and a united Ireland and having a border poll.
“The people who are doing this actually do more harm to their own cause than anything else.
“Because it demonstrates very clearly to unionists, that whilst on the one hand, we’re told, you will be well looked after, on the other hand, people just want to poke us in the eye and particularly they want to poke victims in the eye.
“I cannot for the life of me understand how anyone gets enjoyment out of causing grief and pain to those who’ve already had much grief and pain visited upon them.”
“So I think that when people talk about building a relationship or relationships and these islands, that is based on respect, we will judge them more by their actions than by their words.
“I have to say the actions of some of late have demonstrated that really, it’s not about reconciliation. It’s not about healing. It is simply about poking people in the eye.”