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Let The People Sing Their Stories And Their Songs: A Response To James Dornan MSP.

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I firmly applaud James Forrest’s allowing James Dornan MSP to guest write for The Celtic Blog.

James, in fairness, has allowed a variety of writers to air their views on this very platform and of course, on the much lauded On Fields Of Green, where I was a regular contributor.

I once wrote an article regarding Fergus McCann which frankly went down like a pork pie at a Jewish wedding. James, to his ultimate credit, backed me, whilst disagreeing with me.

The vitriol was damning but I stand by the piece.

Some would argue that politics and football aren’t the best mix.

But I disagree.

Football is the best platform for politics and of course, our very own Green Brigade is at the epicentre of most of this.

I find their politics hard to disagree with.

They, of course, vehemently opposed the appointment of Bernard Higgins, not for political reasons but for moral ones. This was a man, who was at the forefront of criminalising football fans.

Frankly, I believe they have good cause.

But let’s concentrate on James Dornan.

I find it reprehensible that an elected MSP should come out with some of these bewildering comments, but I refer back to James and his allowance of free speech. There is nothing wrong with letting people have a platform; the thing is, James also allows others to respond, and so I shall, in a manner which MSP Dornan will hopefully appreciate … I have rights too.

Dornan wrote, in his section on self-determination; “It is for the Irish people to decide, not a group of football fans, and it will be a political not sporting decision.”

Fair enough, but in the main, there’s a massive Irish diaspora in Glasgow who massively outweigh the Green Brigade as a section of Scottish society. They will certainly have a say in Irish unification, and many of them are, at Celtic, utilising the platform of sport to re-inforce the point.

The Green Brigade is a voice, but they are not alone in their thoughts.

The Irish are still a source of hatred here, as we’re all well aware. Catholicism widely associated with the Irish and Celtic is a source of unacceptance in Scotland.

He also mentions, however obliquely, the expressions of Catholic faith at our ground. Well, Catholic education, to this day, remains a source of discussion and debate; it is under severe threat and I don’t believe that it’s an exaggeration to say that.

Aside from a handful of commentators – one of whom is the excellent Kevin McKenna – who speaks up for us?

Celtic is not exclusively a Catholic club; the fans who sing those songs never pretended for one minute that it was.

Furthermore, Mr Dornan added: “I understand that some Celtic fans will disagree with my position, but interestingly, I hold this position, not because I don’t think there’s a place at Parkhead to celebrate our Irish culture; I do.”

Here in Scotland, we rightly support such festivals as Eid Mubarak but in the “best wee country in the world” those who sing songs of their beloved Ireland are continually demonised.

We’ve all heard this bollocks about how anyone who celebrates the Irish War of Independence is a terrorist. What about those who fought, and those celebrate, the Scottish Wars of Independence, Mr Dornan?

Terrorists? Terrorist lovers? Give me a break.

The Green Brigade to me, are a reminder of where this beloved club of ours came from and more power to them for continually hammering that point across.

I found the whole piece fairly condescending to the majority of Hoops fan who are of Irish descent, including myself. Does Mr Dornan forget absentee landlords, The Great Hunger and the ostracising of the Irish race in Scotland?

Does he recall that once we were targeted; “No dogs, no blacks, no Irish?”

It’s not for nothing, you know, that those who support Irish Republicanism understand the plight of the Palestinians and give generous support to Scotland’s refugee community.

Those of us who are familiar with our history and don’t shrink away from it, recognise their causes and their struggles because we can see them through the prism of our own.

Mr Dornan adds “If you really support Ireland then sing songs of it at a time of special celebration, Saint Patrick’s Day, or the anniversary of Irish independence or any other major event in Ireland’s cultural or political calendar.”

So as a support can we sing about Ireland’s culture or political calendar?

Does the political calendar include Bloody Sunday Massacre on 30 January 1972?

Can the 50th Anniversary be commemorated when Celtic face Dundee Utd on 29th January, 2022?

Perhaps James Dornan should be applauding the Green Brigade for their vociferous stance against Scotland’s elephant in the room; its anti-Irish rhetoric.

Which, by the way, is most commonly expressed by the uber-unionists, the great enemies of his own political cause.

I find it almost unbelievable that a man of James Dornan’s standing, position, age and background deems fit to legislate an attack on his own. That was his government. He cannot say “not in my name.”

Shame on you, Mr Dornan. Shame.

Gavin McCann is a long time contributor to The CelticBlog and was a senior editor of On Fields Of Green.

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33 comments

  • Seán McManus says:

    Well Said Gavin,
    Agree wholeheartedly
    HH

  • AllaboutCeltic says:

    What absolute dribble!!!

    “Hard to disagree with the GB”…easy. Engage brain

    “The GB stand for everything Celtic is all about”
    100% garbage. Most supporters I speak to annoy their tifos and the atmosphere they can bring, but are mainly fed up listening to them harping on about one thing or another, and being detrimental to the team, as well as damaging the reputation of the supporters and the club in general.

    FYI,
    The RA have got nothing to do with Celtic Football Club. Never has.

    I don’t think anyone is disputing all the wrongs that have been beffelled on our ancestors nor the racism we experience even in 2021, but Celtic Park is not the place…

    Nicola Sturgeon thought off and implemented the laws that have Higgins the authority and powers that he used to wreck lives and demonise Celtic supporters.

    Nicola Sturgeon sat back and done nothing while Polis Scotland March along with the racist across the city while singing songs of hate, wrecking the city center and putting the endear into decent folk just to walk down the street. If you do nothing, you’re as good as condoning their actions. She actually gave high praise to Polis Scotland for their bravery.

    Point being, if you’re not happy with the lay of the land and how we’re still being treated as 3rd rate citizens, stop voting for the SNP and speak to your local MSP. It has no place in Celtic Park.

    The board are crap – nothing new.
    The polis are racist bams – always have been

    Protest all you want around the city or stadium, but when you’re in the stadium, support the team???

  • Anthony Mcquade says:

    Great reply to an arrogant Ill informed self opinionated man

  • Anthony Mcquade says:

    It is Doran I refer to .
    His arrogance is up there with our board

  • Pearsey Gallagher says:

    Bit the nail right on the head here bhoy, fantastic factually based article. Hail Hail.

  • Theobald W. T. says:

    I wouldn’t necessarily agree that football matches are the best platform for expressing political views. Certainly not if you’re a Fascist for example, or another right wing exponent who follows one of the number of East European teams blighted by right wing extremism.
    However, I don’t take issue with remembering historical events which have shaped who we are now. There is every right to be proud of the sacrifices and achievements made to better the future of a nation and all within it’s demographic.
    The issue I have is narrower in context, but indirectly associated. Recently, Joe McHugh wrote about sections the away support who sing songs which provide an opportunity for anti-Celtic commentators to put us on a par with the pond dwellers on the other side of the river. Joe highlighted ‘Roaming in the Gloaming’, with its references to St. Patrick’s F@nian Band….and F@@k John Knox. There are many non F@nian Celtic fans and a substantial number of Presbyterians amoung our support, and I feel that some elements of the song sheet are less than inclusive from a club where it’s support has and always will be open to all. Also, we leave ourselves openly blameful of sectarian abuse in the same way as the pond dwellers. No one would disagree that “F@@k the P@pe”, would be considered sectarian. So when the Celtic away song sheet curses the Queen, (Head of the C of E), and ex-priest John Knox, ( figurehead of Scottish Presbyterianism), we are equally as guilty in the eyes of many. I know a Celtic Season Ticket holder who is a Church of Scotland Minister. He and his adult sons have seats in ‘the jungle’ area, and are as passionate in their love of Celtic as many of us are. And I just hate in 2021, that an enlightened, diverse fanbase can act in a manner whereby we alienate those amongst our own ranks. And what’s equally worse for me, is acting in a manner where we can be tarred with the same brush as the Klub which has the most dispicable fan base in European football. The last year has showcased them at their very worst. They genuinely turn my stomach.
    So in short, could we cut out language that is not inclusive and arguably sectarian. That would demonstrate the true meaning of being a Celtic supporter. Hail Hail

    • Gavin McCann says:

      I’ll take you back to a Cup Final in 88 when the Celtic and Dundee Utd fans sang, “You can stick your Tory Poll Tax up your arse”

      Football and Politics do mix.

      Tell that to the JF97 movement.

  • Sean says:

    Biggest pile of garbage I’ve heard in a long time. The green brigade, are not interested in Celtic football club, they are spoiled brats,and trouble makers. Politics shouldn’t be at the ground, sick to death with all of this ira garbage, as a lot of our fans are. Your a dinosaur mate, and bigoted to the core. Same as they anti catholic scumbags who sing they orange songs. No difference.

    • Kyogos Dream Team says:

      Spot on m8, the GB are a bunch ae wee Wankers who cdny knock Fuk oot the Pillow Gang lol! Chased by a Bunch ae Pensioners Ootside Oswalds, GET THEM TAE FUK!!

      • Jim Duffy says:

        Yes mate ,we need people like you on our side ,who only come on here and only talk about fighting and never discuss anything without your usual vitriol.

    • Jim Duffy says:

      Well said Gavin ,I as a Scot of Irish background believe and agree with everything you’ve said ,I just wish others in a position of authority would back our cause, hail hail the green brigade,and something else the green brigade put there money where there mouths are ,more than can be said for pseudo Irish dornan.

    • Jim Duffy says:

      Sean you really believe politics should not be allowed at our ground?why do you think we were established in the first place ,I’ll tell you why politics in Scotland made it clear no Irish or catholics will be tolerated in orange masonic jockland.

    • Gavin McCann says:

      Sean, The Green Brigade are not only politically aware but a clever group of bhoys.

      I’m not a dinosaur. Maybe, justy maybe you should read a bit more into things before casting aspersions upon people who are culturally aware.

      To accuse the GB of not being interested in Celtic is somewhat absurd.

      I’m sure you’ll be leading the songs from your section at CP or indeed making new ones up? Will you be spending countless hours making a great Tifo?

  • Eugene Cairns says:

    Utter tosh Mr McCann

    I’m embarrassed as hell when the Pope or religion or the queen or anything else which doesn’t celebrate our club rings out especially at away grounds. I say that as a Catholic of Irish descent born half a mile from CP

    The Green Brigade to a great job of leading the support at CP , but leave the blind bigoted
    chanting to the morons across the city

  • REBELLIOUS says:

    I’m no bright enough to pen that, well; so I believe, but I enjoyed every letter of it.

    I’ve no knowledge of James Dornan (MSP) apart from what I read here, and to me he came across as slightly arrogant with some rather weird and outlandish views.( for a Celtic supporter I mean) I truly hoped someone would write a reply piece to his piece because it’s only right and proper to get the chance to retort on his views.

    For me, you have done so very well, without letting yourself down by stooping to guttural language or profanity, BRAVO.

    I believe my views are more inline with yours, as for Mr. Dornan(MSP) he struck me as someone who would believe that his shit definitely doesn’t stink.

    Thanks for the heads up re. commemorating the one and only ever concurrently, IRA activist AND Brit MP and I’ll be taking part in my own small way commemorating Bobby Sands MP when we play @Tannadice end of January 2022.

    As for politics not entering into Fitba, well, for me, that is absurd because politics ‘infects’
    [I know that’s not the right word but it’s apt here] everything in everyday life.
    I use ‘infects’ rather than ‘effects’ because that is how I view politics, to be more precise; any politician from any party. They ALL HAVE PERSONAL AGENDAS.
    And again for me, Mr. Dornan’s piece, was riddled with his agenda, whatever that may be.
    Id wager he has many skelf marks on his posterior.

    Regardless, it’s good to talk and James Forrest has to be commended for the balance he shows here on the best Celtic blog by a feqn country mile and then some.

    James! Lang may yir lum reek

    HH

  • Jim Duffy says:

    Well said Gavin ,I as a Scot of Irish background believe and agree with everything you’ve said ,I just wish others in a position of authority would back our cause, hail hail the green brigade,and something else the green brigade put there money where there mouths are ,more than can be said for pseudo Irish dornan.

  • Craig Young says:

    Pork pies and Jewish weddings spring to mind.
    More inclined to agree with James Dornans take on things.
    Bout each to their own
    HH

  • Martin says:

    I will be very surprised and disappointed if the GB don’t commemorate the anniversary of the Bloody Sunday massacre on the 29th January 2022- I will be reminding everybody I meet that NOBODY has been brought to account for this atrocity in the courts!

  • Christina says:

    Well said Gavin! I am Irish 365 days of the year not just on high days & Holy days. If you are abroad and you want to see a Celtic game what’s the first place you look for? Exactly, an Irish pub- not a Scottish pub but an Irish pub. Does Mr Dornan think the Irish built this club to be then airbrushed out of our history? Oh wait we are allowed to celebrate our Irish heritage on given days- is this so we don’t overload the Scots with Irish culture- bit bizarre that! I don’t wish to cause divisions but why is it OK to sing Flower of Scotland remembering the victory over English yet not ok to sing about Irish victories over same?

  • Sean says:

    The majority of Celtic fans don’t want ira songs at our ground, and can somebody tell me how all these trouble making green brigade, seem to always get away tickets, we’re it’s a 90 minute bigot fest, and the decent Celtic supporters like myself don’t get 1, that’s a disgrace that. The green brigade, are just as bad as the loyalists. Just want to cause trouble,

    • Gavin McCann says:

      Being politically aware isn’t trouble making. It merely highlights the utter hypocrisy of Scottish Society. The GB make amends by putting it out there.

  • Theobald W. T. says:

    I wouldn’t necessarily agree that football matches are the best platform for expressing political views. Certainly not if you’re a Fascist for example, or another right wing exponent who follows one of the number of East European teams blighted by right wing extremism.
    However, I don’t take issue with remembering historical events which have shaped who we are now. There is every right to be proud of the sacrifices and achievements made to better the future of a nation and all within it’s demographic.
    The issue I have is narrower in context, but indirectly associated. Recently, Joe McHugh wrote about sections the away support who sing songs which provide an opportunity for anti-Celtic commentators to put us on a par with the pond dwellers on the other side of the river. Joe highlighted ‘Roaming in the Gloaming’, with its references to St. Patrick’s F@nian Band….and F@@k John Knox. There are many non F@nian Celtic fans and a substantial number of Presbyterians among our support, and I feel that some elements of the song sheet are less than inclusive from a club where it’s support has and always will be open to all. Also, we leave ourselves openly blameful of sectarian abuse in the same way as the pond dwellers. No one would disagree that “F@@k the P@pe”, would be considered sectarian. So when the Celtic away song sheet curses the Qu@en, (Head of the CofE), and ex-priest John Knox, ( figurehead of Scottish Presbyterianism), we are equally as guilty in the eyes of many. I know a Celtic Season Ticket holder who is a Church of Scotland Minister. He and his adult sons have seats in ‘the jungle’ area, and are as passionate in their love of Celtic as many of us are. And I just hate in 2021, that an enlightened, diverse fanbase can act in a manner whereby we alienate those amongst our own ranks. And what’s equally worse for me, is acting in a manner where we can be tarred with the same brush as the Klub which has the most dispicable fan base in European football. The last year has showcased them at their very worst. They genuinely turn my stomach.
    So in short, could we cut out language that is not inclusive and arguably sectarian. That would demonstrate the true meaning of being a Celtic supporter. Hail Hail

  • John S says:

    Keep politics out of Celtic Park. It is ultimately divisive.

  • Fred Howden says:

    As Scot of Irish and English heritage I belive it is vital to know and value our origins. However we now live in Scotia and with all it,s faults I consider I am Scottish not Irish or English. In my experience the vast majority of Scots are not anti Irish or Catholic ! Let’s live in the 21st century and leave the Orange bigots to the 17th SAOR ALBA ! Do remember many Scots Catholics are not of Irish descent .

  • Aodhain says:

    Absolutely superb mo chara as a boyo brought up in West Belfast and living in Glasgow you summed it up about how I feel living here as the underlying racism re us Oirish experience and that thrives here through the structures and strictures of this best wee country

  • Gavin McCann says:

    That’s akin to say Black Americans should forget slavery. Should the Jewish peoples forget the Holocaust. The starvation of the Irish race which included poor of Catholic and Protestants be forgotten – that is, An Gorta Mor – of course it shouldn’t.

    Politics, through football has always, always belonged to the working classes.

    The problem is now that Celtic’s support is largely middle class due to earnings. I’d love to learn the true demographic of the Celtic Support. Perhaps this has a true leaning on the replies here.

  • Solas sa Saoirse says:

    Sean, you are showing your ignorance by calling anybody dinosaur. They died out millions of years ago. So nothing living today can possibly be a dinosaur! Hard to listen to listen to that, you know?

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