Irish rebel band the Wolfe Tones have raced to the top of the iTunes charts in both Ireland and the UK with their hit ‘Come Out Ye Black and Tans’.
It comes after the government controversially organised an event to commemorate the Royal Irish Constabulary.
The commemoration was planned to take place at Dublin Castle on 17 Jan 2020 as part of the ‘Decade of Centenaries’ which is seeing several people and notable events from the years 1912-23 being remembered.
That was a period of great change for Ireland, with historic events such as the Easter Rising and the War of Independence leading to Ireland achieving Home Rule.
However, Fine Gael’s decision to commemorate the RIC was deeply unpopular as they were responsible for many acts of brutality.
The most infamous was on ‘Bloody Sunday’ – 21 November 1920. The RIC, together with members of the Auxiliary Division, known as the Black and Tans, killed and wounded dozens of civilians when they opened fire on a crowd at a Gaelic football match at Croke Park.
The ‘Black and Tans’ – mainly British (some Irish) First World War veterans who were unemployed at the time – were recruited to help the RIC which was struggling to suppress the IRA. They were a brutal organisation who killed civilians and burned down property.
The government say that many Irish people were part of the RIC and they don’t want to sugar-coat Irish history.
However, the public are furious that an organisation that fought against Irish independence and killed, wounded and destroyed livelihoods of Irish civilians should be commemorated.
The government eventually backed down and shelved plans for the commemoration.
However, the public have had their say by buying the Wolfe Tones’ 1963 track ‘Come Out Ye Black and Tans’ on iTunes in their thousands.
So much so that it has reached number one in the charts in both Ireland and the UK, where around six million people have at least one Irish grandparent.
The Wolfe Tones have thanked fans for their support and told the government that the public have made their opinion quite clear.
They added that the proceeds would be donated to homeless charities.
The band’s Twitter account posted the following message: “Come Out Ye Black n Tans No. 1 in Ireland, No. 3 in Britain … Fine Gael got their answer ….”
It was later updated to: “Make that No. 1 Ireland & Britain.”
When their number one status was confirmed the band posted: “The Wolfe Tones thank you all for your support of the campaign to stop the RIC/Black and Tans commemoration at Dublin Castle.
“We will be donating the proceeds of the success you made by downloading “Come out ye Black and Tans” to the Peter McVerry Trust who do great work to aid the homeless in Ireland. Keep it going & well done to all! Kind Regards, Brian Warfield.”
The Wolfe Tones thank you for your support of the campaign to stop the RIC/Black n Tans commemoration. We will be donating the proceeds of the success you made by downloading “Come out ye Black and Tans” to the Peter McVerry Trust who do great work to aid the homeless, Brian W. pic.twitter.com/qITpAAxsr0
— The Wolfe Tones ?? (@wolfetones) January 9, 2020
Written by Michael Kehoe @michaelcalling