Folk group The Druids sparked a row at Ardoyne Fleadh over 'hate speech'

Folk group The Druids sparked a row at Ardoyne Fleadh over ‘hate speech’

A republican folk band at the centre of a political row over comments made at the Ardoyne Fleadh last month will not face prosecution.

The PSNI said officers in north Belfast had carried out a “full and thorough investigation” the stage performance by The Druids

The DUP and TUV said they had reported comments made by the act to the police.

The police say a file was presented to the Public Prosecution Service which advised no criminal offence had been committed.

A video from the event showed a member of the band telling the audience that British soldiers in Ireland “should get together with their Orange comrades” and go back to England.

The PPS decision has infuriated the DUP

Its North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds said the decision not to prosecute “beggars belief”.

“In Scotland prosecutions have been successfully pursued against those who sang the so-called Famine Song, yet the republican equivalent has been given the green light by the PSNI and PPS in Northern Ireland. Why is the obvious question?” he said

“In our original statement we said we would be keeping a close eye on the PSNI investigation because of their past favouritism towards this event. It is now clear our concerns were justified.”

“This import of this decision should not be underestimated by the authorities. Every political extremist has been given free rein to tell whatever section of society they like to f- off home, to threaten them, to abuse them and the PPS and PSNI will look the other way.”

“This decision will be challenged by the DUP at the Assembly, on the Policing Board and through any other avenue we can find.”

However, the SDLP’s Alban Maginness said it was the right decision even though the remarks were offensive.

At the time the row was sparked, chairman of the Ardoyne Fleadhy, Eddie Copeland said the remarks by The Druids were “wrong and disappointing”.

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