Mary Lou McDonald says singing 'up the Ra' is not a glorification of murder and calls for civility

Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald has said that singing 'oh-ah, up the Ra' is not a glorification of murder.

Speaking to UTV's View from Stormont, Mrs McDonald did not directly address whether IRA violence was ever justified.

"I believe what was justified," she said. "Was the right of the Irish people to stand against British imperialism and to fight for our freedom."

The Dublin Central TD said that all dealings should be "guided by civility" and that Dame Arlene Foster "was right" to "call out" a recent incident where a pro-IRA chant was sung at an event the former DUP leader attended.

When asked by UTV's Paul Clark whether the singing of the chant "up the Ra" was a glorification of murder, the Sinn Féin leader replied "no, it's not."

The TD added that the song the chant is taken from, Celtic Symphony, is about a football club in Glasgow and not about Ireland.

She added that respect and civility should guide people's dealings with one another.

Mrs McDonald also outlined her view of the British Government's legislation to deal with the legacy of the Troubles currently making its way through parliament.

"The biggest challenge we face currently, is that the British government is seeking to legislate for an amnesty, which would be damaging and hurtful and a really seriously negative thing for victims and survivors across the community irrespective of where they come from, irrespective of who visited the hurt and loss on them."

When asked if IRA violence was ever justified, Mrs McDonald said that the Troubles were "incredibly brutal" and a "political conflict" in which there were "multiple combatant groups."

Asked the same question again, the Sinn Féin leader said that she believed the "right of the Irish people to stand against British imperialism" was justified.

Mrs McDonald said that she would appeal to "the future we can create" when asked what she would say to unionists and loyalists who oppose her hope of a United Ireland.

"Agreeing that we're never going to have a singular version of the past whether it's the past 50 years or the past 100 years, we have different experiences. We have therefore a different narratives.

"We have so much more in common than divides us. So I would hope that we can focus on that, wherever you come from, whatever your background is, that we agree common common cause for the future."

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know.