The Roll of Honour - where is the offence?

Published on Wednesday 9th October, 2013 by Celtic Trust

As the Police Service of Scotland conduct 7am raids on the homes of young men who may, or may not, have sung a song at a football match some weeks ago, the Celtic Trust publishes the words of the song and asks, where does this song offer anyone any offence?  It represents a record of a particular period in the history of the relationship between Britain and Ireland (more than three decades ago); it honours the memory of those young men who fought for the cause of a united Ireland (you don't have to agree with that to note their bravery) and it represents a continuing aspiration to an Ireland free from British rule and that is about it.  It does not use sectarian language, it doesn't insult anyone (except a state/system) and it does not call on anyone to use violence nor does it glorify violence.  In the ultimate irony the Scottish Government, through it's national police force, seeks to criminalise those who honour men who died to oppose criminalisation. 

In very few conflicts is it ever wise or even correct to assume that one side was completely good and the other completely bad.  The thing about democracy is you cannot say you are offended by someone having a different interpretation of history or politics and expect the state to protect you from that offence, whether in a football ground or anywhere else.  We do not call on anyone to sing this or any other song but we do say that it does not offer offence (except where people choose to be offended by the rights of others to hold their own views) and it should not be criminalised.  The Offensive Behaviour Act is anti-democratic and it needs to go.

Anyway, here are the words, so you decide:


Read the roll of honour for Ireland's bravest men

We must be united in memory of the ten,

England you're a monster, don't think that you have won

We will never be defeated while Ireland has such sons.

In those dreary H-Block cages ten brave young Irishmen lay

Hungering for justice as their young lives ebbed away,

For their rights as Irish soldiers and to free their native land

They stood beside their leader - the gallant Bobby Sands.


Now they mourn Hughes in Bellaghy, Ray McCreesh in Armagh's hills

In those narrow streets of Derry they miss O'Hara still,

They so proudly gave their young lives to break Britannia's hold

Their names will be remembered as history unfolds.


Through the war torn streets of Ulster the black flags did sadly sway

To salute ten Irish martyrs the bravest of the brave,

Joe McDonnell, Martin Hurson, Kevin Lynch, Kieran Doherty

They gave their lives for freedom with Thomas McElwee.


Michael Devine from Derry you were the last to die

With your nine brave companions with the martyred dead you lie

Your souls cry out "Remember, our deaths were not in vain.

Fight on and make our homeland a nation once again !"


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1 comment
nzbhoy says:
2013-10-10 20:21:11

Could not agree more, this has nothing to do with democracy, its nothing to do with sectarianism, its a attempt to quieten the Irish Republican voice in Scotland, dressed up in this "The Offensive Behaviour Act" a clever piece of legislation to do the dirty work and look legit.


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