FAI boss John Delaney has apologised for any offence he caused by singing a republican ballad in a Dublin bar after Ireland’s win over the USA last week.
A video has emerged of Delaney singing the Wolfe Tones ballad Joe McDonnell that honours a member of the Provisional IRA who died on hunger strike in 1981 after going 61 days without food.
Speaking to Ryan Tubridy on 2fm this morning, the FAI chief executive said the video was recorded “in a sly way” on a mobile phone but added that “if the song offends anyone, of course I am sorry”.
The video was recorded on the same night that England manager Roy Hodgson apologised on behalf of an England fan who sang anti-IRA songs during their international friendly with Scotland at Celtic Park.
“I’m not someone who supports violence at all,” Mr Delaney said. “Over a large number of years I have been working closely with cross-border initiatives in football to break down barriers .
“When you sing a song like that you don’t believe in every word that is in the song.
“If people want to tape these things in what I would call a sly way and make them public, it’s wrong. Though I do accept if I have upset anybody I’m sorry.”
Meanwhile, Mr Delaney’s partner, Emma English, has said she hasn’t been able to sleep over “disgusting cyber-bullying” posted on a football fan site.
She spoke of her distress that her children had seen some of the abusive messages posted on You Boys In Green (YBIG).
A spokesperson for the website has apologised for the posts and said they were taken down as soon as the moderator saw them.
Ms English called for the forum to be shut down, and Mr Delaney said she has his full support.
The couple have been together for six months and Ms English believes she should not be humiliated online because of their relationship.
“I’m devastated over it, I believe that my personal relationship with John is nothing to do with what he does professionally,” she told the Herald. “It has taken its toll and has reached a point now where I have to speak out about it.
“I have four children and some of them are of the age to be on the internet and they’re being subjected to that and receiving texts from their friends saying, ‘Did you see what was written about your mother?’”
A spokesman for YBIG said: “We are apologising to Emma for a couple of posts on the forum that were taken down as soon as the moderator saw them.”
The spokesman rejected Ms English’s call for the forum to be shut down
“We will absolutely not be closing down the forum,” he said.
“The forum has served Irish fans so well over the last 10 years. It must also be noted that we raised between €15,000 and €20,000 for charity every year through the forum and will not be closing it down.
“Derogatory remarks are made all the time on social media, so should all social media be closed down?”