VIDEO: Row emerges over 'anti-IRA' anthem Zombie sung by Irish rugby fans after triumphant win over South Africa

Stills from the video of 'Zombie' (Photo: /)
Stills from the video of 'Zombie' (Photo: /)

The hard rock song, generally hated by republicans, was played over the PA system in the Stade de France and the crowd joined in, ultimately singing it acapella.

The song is from the Irish band’s 1994 album ‘No Need to Argue’, and was written by its Limerick-born singer Dolores O'Riordan.

The video features footage of RUC men and soldiers walking a series of devastated neighbourhoods in Belfast, along with images of IRA murals and loyalist graffiti.

Among those who hailed the singalong was loyalist activist Moore Holmes (12,000 followers), who wrote: “80,000 people singing The Cranberries, Zombie after Ireland’s spectacular victory over the Springboks. Spine-tingling.

"Did you know the song was actually written in protest against the IRA Warrington bombings?...

"Zombie is an Irish, British, and global anthem enjoyed across the world, and rightfully so.

"Despite its aggressive sound, it is a song of peace, and a much more appropriate encore on the global sporting stage instead [of] the terrorist-supporting chants that have made the news in the past.”

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Among those critical of the song in the last 48 hours were the following:

• Ronan Sheehan (@newryhurler1, 2,300 followers): “What has 'zombie' got to do with Ireland, a song mocking the men and women of Easter week and telling the nationalist people of the 'six counties' it was all in their head....sorry not for me but sums up an element of the Irish rugby support.”

Т (@Tristin_1916, a “final year student from the occupied six counties”, 1,800 followers): “I am so here for the backlash against Zombie. It's about time that it was widely called out for the terribly written song that it is.”

SweetIrishGhirl (@Newrygal1, 5,200 followers): “Can't play Amhran na bhfiann but can belt out the west brit song Zombie.......ooookkkkkk…

"F**k me the west brits are out in force tonight 'erm the IRA were the bad guys stop bringing politics into rugby, zombie is an absol banger yaaaaa'. Same ones probably yap about the Celtic Symphony.”

Seán De Brún (@seandebrun2, 1,100 followers), posted alongside a picture of a terrified Catholic schoolgirl during the Holy Cross dispute: “According to the Irish people in the Stade de France, it was all only in this little girls head. The trauma she experienced when UVF thugs threw bombs at her school.

"Those singing zombie think this was all just in her head. Shame on them. I hope karma bites hard.”

Paul Murphy (@paulmurphy68, “from old Ardoyne, nuff said”, 10,000 followers): “Zombies is an apt description of the Unionist state and their mobs who attacked defenceless Catholic areas in August 69 leading to the emergence of the IRA.

“Don't try to blame the victims of the Orange State for resisting state terror.”

Mícheál MacCumascaigh (@demicker, 2,000 followers): “Spotify, play me west Brit moosic.”

And typical of many replies to a comment piece on the matter by Irish Times duty editor Hugh Linehan was this from Brick (@EstrogenBrick, “She/It 30. Brick. Hot girlthing. scary trantifa commie f-slur and t-slur. Acab!!”, 200 followers): “Thick as sh**e, West Brit f**kin head on him.”

The song’s verses are as follows:

Another head hangs lowly

Child is slowly taken

And the violence caused such silence

Who are we mistaken?

But you see, it's not me

It's not my family

In your head, in your head, they are fighting

With their tanks and their bombs

And their bombs and their guns

In your head, in your head, they are crying

Another mother's breaking

Heart is taking over

When the violence

Causes silence

We must be mistaken

It's the same old theme

Since nineteen-sixteen

In your head, in your head, they're still fighting

With their tanks and their bombs

And their bombs and their guns

In your head, in your head, they are dying.

Its chorus is:

In your head, in your head

Zombie, zombie, zombie-ie-ie

What's in your head, in your head?

Zombie, zombie, zombie-ie-ie-ie, oh

In the book ‘How I Wrote…’ the singer described it as follows:

“At the time Zombie was written we were touring in the UK. It was before the peace treaty and there had been a lot of trouble.

"There were a lot of bombs going off in London and I remember this one time a child was killed when a bomb was put in a rubbish bin – that’s why there’s that line in the song: ‘A child is slowly taken’.

“We were on a tour bus and I was near the location where it happened, so it really struck me hard – I was quite young, but I remember being devastated about the innocent children being pulled into that kind of thing.

"So I suppose that’s why I was saying, ‘It’s not me’ – that even though I’m Irish it wasn’t me, I didn’t do it. Because being Irish, it was quite hard, especially in the UK when there was so much tension. It’s so different now. If you told a teenager now what it was like back then they wouldn’t believe you, but it wasn’t such a long time ago.

“I draw from a lot of different life experiences: births, deaths, war, pain, depression, anger, sadness. I’m also obsessed with mortality.

"I have bipolar disorder so I struggle with mood swings – I go from one extreme to the next.

"But I think that was irrelevant when writing Zombie because the event was so massive at the time – it was all over the papers.

"I just remember being young and spirited, without any hang-ups, I had no chip on my shoulder and would just write what I thought.”