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Last Updated:  Monday, 24 March, 2003, 16:30 GMT
Airline removes 'offensive' songs
The airline confirmed the songs had been removed from the in-flight play list
Irish state airline Aer Lingus has removed "offensive" music being played on an in-flight entertainment channel following a complaint by an Ulster Unionist assembly member.

East Antrim member Roy Beggs Jnr complained to the airline for what he described as pro-terrorist songs being included in a trans-Atlantic in-flight entertainment magazine.

Mr Beggs and an Ulster Unionist colleague were travelling on an Aer Lingus Dublin to Boston flight to speak at Harvard University, when they noticed in their in-flight magazine a channel dedicated to songs from ex-Wolf Tones folk singer Derek Warfield.

"We were shocked to read that this so-called traditional singer's repertoire was included in the in-flight entertainment section of what is the Irish state airline," said Mr Beggs.

The songs which caused offence included Ten Dead Men, Volunteers of Ireland, Patriots of Erin, Fenian Volunteers, and Fighting Irish.

"In this day and age when much is made of human rights and equality issues, we as British citizens were shocked to see this blatant promotion of militant, armed republicanism.

Even a cursory listen to the lyrics of the aptly named Mr Warfield, shows a glorification of murder and terrorism under the guise of Irish republicanism
Roy Beggs
Ulster Unionist MLA

"Virtually everyone in Northern Ireland knows some one who has suffered during the course of the Troubles as a result of the actions of the so-called patriots whom Mr Warfield celebrates in his hate-filled ballads," he said.

"I find it grossly offensive that such republican lyrics should be promoted by Aer Lingus to tourists, to those of us who live in Northern Ireland who may be considering using Aer Lingus, and to other British and Irish Citizens who fly from Heathrow to Dublin."

Mr Beggs complained to the airline about the songs and asked them to remove the offensive material.

A spokesperson for Aer Lingus confirmed that the songs had been played as part of the in-flight entertainment program but had been removed.

"We did receive a couple of complaints regarding the Derek Warfield songs but we had already initiated action to remove it from the program," she said.

Mr Beggs said he was pleased with this response but reiterated that he found it amazing that Aer Lingus had made such a mistake in the first place.

"Considering this was a trans-Atlantic flight to America and one remembers what happened on 9/11 and that the USA and its allies have declared a 'War on Terror', then this mistake is completely inexcusable.

"Make no mistake about it, even a cursory listen to the lyrics of the aptly named Mr Warfield, shows a glorification of murder and terrorism under the guise of Irish republicanism."

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