Sectarianism and football slang should not be linked

22nd August 2008 at 01:00

Your report on sectarianism (July 18) suggests to me that you also could be suffering from being "normalized" to intolerance, as your headline described it.

Any modicum of research on the lyrical content or theme of Irish songs such as "Dying Rebel" or "The Rifles of the IRA", to which your report refers, would reveal that both pertain to the Easter Rising and War of Independence, and that the men and women who fought are revered and respected by millions all over Ireland.

Moralising about sectarianism could mask an intolerance of its own. I have worked for equality and against intolerance for several years, I am an Irish citizen and a fan of these songs. I loathe the notion that legitimate aspects of Irish nationhood are cited as making a contribution to intolerance.

I generally welcome any comments aimed at education on this historic issue, but I am perplexed at the lack of research on it. The main intent is seemingly to ensure there is a plague on both houses in relation to sectarianism.

I am a Catholic and Celtic fan who has never found the term Tim offensive or sectarian, despite its origins and the derision attached to it and to Hun for those with an affinity or affection for Rangers.

Fans the world over have terms for rivals which are not known as words of endearment. But we cannot sectarianise these terms simply because they are propagated by fans of the major Glasgow clubs.

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