Singer regrets not doing more for Irish cause

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Shane MacGowan, the former lead singer of the Pogues, says he felt guilty for “not having the guts” to join the IRA in a new documentary.

Mr McGowan is best known for his Christmas song ‘A Fairytale of New York’. However, he also wrote ‘Streams of Whiskey’ about the IRA member Brendan Behan and a song titled ‘Paddy Public Enemy Number One’ as a tribute to the INLA leader Dominic McGlinchey.

His band, the Pogues, an Anglo-Irish punk band previously known as ‘Pogue Mahone’, had a history of censorship and abuse at the hands of the British media. They broke up in 1996 because of Mr McGowan’s desire to write and perform republican and political songs.

In his new film ‘Crock of Gold – A Few Rounds with Shane MacGowan’, the musician explained how he felt ashamed for not joining the IRA, but that forming The Pogues and participating ‘in the revolution as a musician’ helped him overcome that shame.

“I always felt guilty that I didn’t lay down my life for Ireland,” he tells the documentary.

“I was ashamed I didn’t have the guts to join the IRA — and the Pogues was my way of overcoming that.

“I had participated in the revolution as a musician.”

He said that he isn’t anti-British, but added: “I compromised. I should never have wavered from the path. There has been an Irish revolution in every century.

“It’s a revolution of the mind. I always felt guilty that I didn’t lay down my life for Ireland.”

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