'I have said what I have said': Cullinane ready to move on from 'Up the 'RA' controversy

'I have said what I have said': Cullinane ready to move on from 'Up the 'RA' controversy

Sinn Féin TD David Cullinane has said that he did not set out to offend anyone with remarks he made while celebrating his election in Waterford.

Mr Cullinane was recorded saying “What we say is, up the Republic, up the Ra, and tiocfaidh ár lá” at an event after his election.

The video of the newly elected TD has since been widely shared on social media and many people have called for an apology for the remarks.

Speaking on WLR FM today, Mr Cullinane said that some people have sensationalised what was a throwaway comment.

“Obviously it would have been better had I not said it, let’s be honest.. it will be sensationlised by some, some will make more of it than what it actually is.

“It was exuberance, it was a celebration night, it was emotional, it was all of that.

"In the context of a time period where I was reflecting on (hunger striker) Kevin Lynch, a young man who was giving his life at the time. And that is the context in which it was said.

These things happen in the context of an election celebration - all sorts of things are said.

"Obviously I would have preferred had it not been said and it is a distraction in some respects. It is not a huge issue.”

Mr Cullinane said he didn’t realise it was being videoed.

“It wasn’t a conscious thing, it was a throwaway comment in some respects at the end of a very emotional speech talking to Sinn Féin supporters.

"I think most reasonable people will see that.

"I’ve dealt with it, I have said what I have said, I have moved on already and I’m focused on the future.”

Asked if he was sorry if he offended anyone, he added: “Yes, of course I am, because I don’t set out to offend anybody”.

Fresh calls for Sinn Féin TD to apologise for 'Up the 'RA' remark

David Cullinane ecelbrates topping the poll in Waterford
David Cullinane ecelbrates topping the poll in Waterford

Earlier: There have been fresh calls for a Sinn Féin TD to apologise for using the phrase 'Up the Ra' at a celebration event.

David Cullinane defended the use of the term and insists it wasn't inappropriate.

European Affairs Minister Helen McEntee believes he should say sorry for the remarks.

"There should be no political representative from any party shouting 'Up the 'RA' whether it was five days ago, five weeks ago or five years ago. It just shouldn't happen.

"So, like a lot of people, I would expect an apology and I think a lot of people who were impacted and whose family were impacted by the IRA would expect an apology."

Fianna Fáil TD Brendan Smith has also said that Mr Cullinane should apologise.

"The IRA was a prescribed organisation, a paramilitary organisation, and any commentary be it in text or in song or in any other type of commentary is not acceptable in regard to a paramilitary organisation."

However, Sinn Féin TD for Cork South Central, Donnachadh O'Laoghaire insists David Cullinane has explained the context of the remarks.

Last night, Mr Cullinane said the he was "very excited and very proud of the vote we got in Waterford.

"The 30-second clip was part of a broader and longer speech that I gave where I was reflecting back on the hunger strikes, reflecting back on the fact that Kevin Lynch stood in the Waterford constituency back in 1981.

"He was someone that inspired me and inspired many republicans, the comments were made in that context.

"I know some people will think the comments were about the here and the now and the future, they weren't.

"It was reflecting back on that time in Irish history that I'm proud of and those hunger strikers and it was I suppose part of the excitement of the night when we were celebrating that victory.

My comments were about the past, they were not about the future, the IRA is gone as everybody knows.

Sinn Féin’s Matt Carthy said Mr Cullinane’s chant was “understandable if maybe not advisable” given the circumstances.

“In this context, David clearly wasn’t at a meeting, he was at a celebration function, I understand, in the early hours of the morning celebrating what was a truly phenomenal result from Sinn Féin in Waterford,” the Cavan Monaghan TD told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.

“He was putting the result in a historical context, talking about some of the key moments along the development of the republican politics and in the course of his summation he probably got a little bit carried away with himself.

“If we were going to be judged on what we said in the early hours of the morning in a bar with our closest friends and supporters, I think we’d all be a little apprehensive as to what could be found on a camera phone.”

People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett said the comments were just "Republican nostalgia".

"I think that was a little bit of hyperbole among Republicans.

"I don't see it as some kind of sign of some sinister agenda operating behind the scenes - honestly. More like Republican nostalgia."

Additional reporting by Digital Desk

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