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Paddy Kielty Speech On United Ireland Goes Viral After 'Up The Ra' Controversy

Paddy Kielty Speech On United Ireland Goes Viral After 'Up The Ra' Controversy
By Luke Delaney Updated
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A speech made by comedian and TV personality Paddy Kielty at the end of 2021 has gone viral in recent days, after the Up The Ra chants from the Ireland Women's National Team.

Kielty is a Co. Down native. His father Jack was murdered by the UDA back in 1988, at the height of the Troubles in the north of Ireland when Paddy was just 16-years-old. Kielty is not only one of Ireland's best comedians, but one of most insightful speakers on Northern Ireland post-Troubles.

READ ALSO: James McClean Among Those To React To Ireland "Up The RA" Chant

Speaking last December at the Irish Government’s Shared Island initiative in Dublin, Kielty made a passionate speech about a potential United Ireland and the need for people in the Republic to pay more attention to things north of the border.

Despite many Irish people claiming to support a United Ireland and sing chants like 'Up the RA' on some occasions, Paddy Kielty has said that many people in the Republic aren't "particularly interested in" the North.

In this year of centenaries, the ghosts of the past are easy to honour. It's way easier to sing a rebel song about a United Ireland than not sing it order to maybe have one. And yet we have to be honest with one another about who we are, how we feel and why we feel it. It's not just trauma that gets passed down, this isn't just a 'northern thing'. Across this entire island, not talking and not engaging means that other things get passed down too.

One-sided history, stereotypes and maybe the worst of all, apathy. It's easy in a post brexit world to sit in Dublin and say 'the British government doesn't care about the north when the truth is for many people in the republic, they aren't particularly intersted in it either. Unless a northern team pulls a hard brexit with Sam Maguire. I know it can be a tricky place to get your head around. Somewhere that's home to orange men and All-Ireland winners, but it's way harder to understand when you're not curious.

Kielty also spoke about the trauma that people in the north continue to face as a result of the troubles decades ago.

In a post-Good Friday Agreement, a big mistake that I have already made is trying to put a lid on the past and hand the new generation this shiny new page, without really talking to them or each other about the chapter before,

We all pass down our opinions, our preconceptions and misconceptions. Usually without first questioning them ourselves.

Sometimes we need to talk to people who don’t fold our own opinions back on us.

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READ ALSO: Watch: Remember When Brian Carney Schooled Rob Wotton Live On Sky Sports

Kielty on shared living across the Island

Paddy Kielty also spoke about how people in the north "no longer look at things through a binary prism" and that they are "getting on with their lives".

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He said:

The vast majority of people in the north no longer look at things through a binary prism, they're getting on with their lives and each other. Say this quietly, but the shared island we're talking about is already happening today, just up the road. Is it a love-in? No. Is it united? Definitely not. But you know too often on this island we get fixated by the notion of being united. Remaining part of the United Kingdom. Becoming part of a United Ireland. But being a fan of the red side of Manchester these days, can I say that being united isn't all it's cracked up to be.

This island is never going to be united and that's okay because no matter if, and it's a big if, if a border poll takes place and more importantly no matter how it turns out, most people living here will feel exactly the same about who they are and what they believe in.

There's still going to be a million or so on this island who are British. They don't just think they're British, they don't need converting, they's not confused, they're British. The same way that a million or so people living north of the border today know that they're Irish. A shared island means being able to be Irish in a future Northern Ireland or be British in a future Ireland and not holding no fear. It means we can all feel as at home on the day of a border poll as the day before the result.

The video has been shared by many in the wake of the controversy of the 'Up The Ra' controversy involving the Ireland women's football team. The key line about rebel songs and a United Ireland hits home. How do we imagine a 32-county republic where both traditions feel fully equal?

Not that everyone agrees with Kielty here.

Kielty's speech undoubtedly has a lot of substance and great understanding of how the island should be viewed by all citizens either north or south of the border.

SEE ALSO: Sky Sports Presenter Proposes Education For Irish Team After Up The Ra Chant


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