Republic Of Ireland Ladies manager Vera Pauw is free to concentrate on plotting her team’s historic journey to the World Cup after the conclusion of a mammoth investigation into abuse cases in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) in America.
Donegal’s Amber Barrett having drilled home the historic winner against Scotland in Hampden Park only days after the tragedy in Creeslough had devastated not only Donegal but the entire nation and further afield.
Unfortunately, as could only happen in Ireland, possibly the greatest sporting achievement the nation has seen in decades (ever?) had to have some of the gloss knocked off it. In the eyes of some.
Because of a pompous, condescending, lazy British journalist and a nation that is ridiculously apologetic instead of not being bothered by what naysayers and knockers think. Apology culture has gone crazy in the world today. That, and a need for certain sections of society to be offended by everything bar the raindrops.
“Let the people sing their stories and their songs and the music of their native land, their lullabies and battle cries and songs of hope and joy, join us hand in hand. All across this ancient land, throughout the tests of time, it was music that kept our spirits free, those songs of yours and of mine”.
Of course, the matters at hand in the American situation are of even graver gravity than ‘Song Gate’ – after all there were life bans dished out relating to same – but it strikes me as a little more than coincidence that it all just came out as Ireland had just qualified for the main event in Australia later this year and were, presumably, in the midst of preparations for same.
From a personal perspective, I would find it very difficult to believe – in light of what she has entered into the public domain about her own past experiences – that Ms. Pauw would engage in abusive or discriminatory activities of any sort.
Mind you, as a country, we don’t help ourselves in these situations either. Why in the name of God did the players and/or the FAI apologise? Why did the FAI just roll over like the obedient little lapdogs they are and pay the fine? Why did Leinster Rugby feel the need to offer a cringe worthy grovel after the same song (Celtic Symphony/The Wolfe Tones) was played during one of their matches?
Nobody should have to be ashamed of apologise for who the are or be ashamed of it either. The lads in the band have repeatedly stated that the song in question was written in relation to Glasgow Celtic FC and nothing else. That said, all those giving out about the ‘Up The Ra’ business obviously haven’t realised the Irish National Anthem basically espouses the same Republican/Nationalist ideas as do most of our best loved songs.
Nobody, either, is for a moment condoning the atrocities which were committed on either side, but, faux outrage shrieked by one side against songs etc about those who stood up for whatever grouping was under attack only succeeds in increasing the hurt foisted upon the other.
There is another way. A better way. If not all out consensus, at the very least understanding. It has been done before. When Peter Robinson joined the late Martin McGuinness to watch Ulster play rugby or Arlene Foster attended an Ulster SFC Final a few years ago.
Hopefully now with the American tale put to bed we can all, as a nation, once again, get behind Vera and her history making troops Down Under next summer.