Trouble at QUB Students Union mill…

The Student Representative Council at Queens is an elective body which decides whether individual societies can be affiliated to the Students Union or not. At a meeting last week the Democratic Unionist Association used their considerable representation to refuse the University’s highly respected Irish Folk Music Society (they opened the joint universities’ St Patrick’s Festival last weekend) official recognition, ostensibly because it had not provided a constitution for council members to read (adds: at the previous meeting). But there were also fears expressed at length, by several members, that it might play ‘Republican songs’, and thereby engage in ‘glorifying terrorism’ or even ‘inciting terrorism’ – despite the group’s high standing and mixed religious composition.The decision was taken on the casting vote of the speaker, and prevents the society from accessing university facilities and/or funding, much to the dismay of the independent members of the council. The controversy will air this afternoon on Queens Radio on the Politics Show at 4pm.

  • Santa Clause

    1. The Wolfe Tones are totally and utterly irrelevant to the matter in question.

    “We are not talking about a Wolfe Tones Music Society we are talking about an Irish Folk Music Society.”

    “The Wolfe Tones are of no particular relevance.”

    Do the Wolfe Tones not perform Irish folk music?

    If, in any sense, they can be said to perform Irish folk music then they ARE relevant.

    Second question, “Was the proposer of the society able to say that the society wouldn’t sing songs similar to those sung by the Wolfe Tones?”

    The answer, as you know only too well, is NO.

    Would you, like the prosper of the society, accept that the constitution is flawed and there should be a requirement for societies to explain their role?

  • John Farrell

    Rubicon……The last thing I want is a job. I did not retire at 52 so that people would start offering me jobs.
    I have indeed always been a man of leisure and feel grateful that I can do it in a guilt free way.
    Habit is a hard thing to break and I still turn up at my ld employer with a sick line.
    Frankly I am NOT enjpying Queens at all. The students are some of the most dull selfish people I have ever met in my life.
    Mostly I sit in tutorials and bore the arse off the 19 year olds with how life was in 1971. They are strangely unimpressed.
    At times I feel like Victor Melldrew but on other days I feel like an unpaid classroom assistant.

    Take this thread……..100 plus posts. The whole point of being a minority is to totally piss off majorities. Make life uncomfortable.

    So Irish folk music is sectarian. Well back in 1966ish I remember the Go Lucky Four (or was it the Glenfolk Four) singing Kelly the Boy from Killane on BBC Norn Iron.
    The banjo player was called Jimmy Gillespie
    The girl singer joined the RUC
    And the two guitarists became……Vincent Hanna, the bye election man and John Bennett (yes that John Bennett from Radio Ulster).

    Someday when Ive nothing else to do I must phone up John Bennett to remind him of the good old days.

  • Queens Unionist

    “You and your council group are unfortunatly moved by sectarian voting rather than any concern for the students or issues that matter to this university…”

    I would just watch making sweeping statements.
    As I myself have already been warned to play the ball im surprised you havent been also.
    we dont want you to throw the toys out of the pram now.
    Cairnan are you there, carnain ???? oh he’s walked out.
    Still remains my democratic right to vote yes no or abstain and everyone else had their own free will in council to do likewise.
    And in actual fact i didnt vote for the comedy society either.
    i vote for very few scoietes and will continue not too.
    i think i abstained from the first Irish folk music vote.

  • Ulster McNulty

    Santa Clause

    “Do the Wolfe Tones not perform Irish folk music?”

    Your point about the Wolfe Tones is completely ludicrous, as previously demonstrated. If you really want to justify your bigotry, you could at least make your objections to the Irish Folk Music Society sound even a teeny weeny bit credible.

    “Would you, like the prosper of the society, accept that the constitution is flawed and there should be a requirement for societies to explain their role”

    I know nothing about this particular society or it’s constitution. But taking it at face value, on account of it’s name and area of interest, and bearing in mind the nature of the objection raised to it – I would say that there should be no requirement for such a group to demean itself for the benefit of a section of transparently narrow-minded and ignorant sectarian bigots.

    The problem obviously lies with the Student Representative Council system in Queens which enables decisions such as this to be made for purely sectarian reasons. It shouldn’t be allowed to happen in today’s society.

  • KeithQR

    this is being covered on Talk Back after 1pm today

  • CiarnánHelferty

    Queens Unionist…

    ‘I would just watch making sweeping statements.
    As I myself have already been warned to play the ball im surprised you havent been also.
    we dont want you to throw the toys out of the pram now’

    Dont ever dare threaten me… I mean who are you to tell me what to do and what not to do. I will make whatever sweeping staements i so wish… when they prove true. I have mentioned no names, no group names no individuals, i have broken no rules… none.

    Perhaps if you only had the courage to use you real name i might understand why you are so flawed in your interpretation of reality. But i suppose its not unlike many members of certain groups in council to be lacking a backbone… take from that what you will.

    I challenge you here an now as i have done already to a debate… a public debate in the students union the day following the release of the minutes… the 13th. Let’s wait and see shall we if you take me up… although i wouldn’t hold my breath.

    Oh, and just to let you know… my name is spelt not “Cairnan are you there, carnain” But ciarnán… i know reading crazy ‘foreign’ names must be difficult… but you could at least try

  • Harmony

    The ‘Irish folk music society’ was set up by music students for ANY student who wants to improve their techical ability on their particular instrument, learn more about irish music or simply to come and appreciate the concerts. There should be clubs and societies set up to cater for all different types of music jazz, rock, country etc..whatever people like.

    There are definitely NO sectarian motives. The music students who wanted to create this society would like to assure everyone of this. If anyone would like to learn further about music in ireland the following books would be useful;

    Breathnach, Brendan,’ Folk Music and Dances of Ireland’

    Hastings, Gary, ‘With Fife and Drum’.

    Vallely, Fintan, ‘The Companion to Irish Traditional Music’

    Further, as accomplished musicians, the students who want to set up this society do not tolerate ANY sort of songs which incite sectarianism or ‘glorifies terrorism’. It is offensive to us that the folk musician should be stereotyped as someone who sits in shouting off rebel songs in a bar over a pint or anywhere at all for that matter. The folk musician/singer can be as technically virtuosic as that of the classical or jazz musician.

    In the constitution it states that its for all musicians, singers and scholars. To elaborate further the society would like to hold seminars on topics like modes and scales of irish music, musical structures etc to broaden people’s knowledge.. is this unacceptable?

    The constitution states that it aims to organise cross community and cross border events. Why? Because its a mixed society with students representing all corners of this island. We embrace everyone. The music is a shared music. e:g there are different flute styles in irish music. One of the most prominent ones is the Belfast flute style which is very strongly connected to flute styles of marching bands. Hence the interchanging of musical ideas, representing both sides of our community.

    The folk music of Ireland, music of all its peoples was once referred to by a great scholar as like a river. It is constantly flowing. Trees and Branches may fall in but it keeps flowing from the same source. All the little streams that divert from it are all connected. Irish folk music has many different regional styles.

    We also have to remember that our society is constantly growing and changing due to the large numbers of e.g eastern europeans bringing with them their own music and traditions, this is fantastic! Think of how these influences can be absorbed and used to create fantastic sounding music for all to enjoy!!

    I hope that this has helped a lot of people realise what the ‘Irish Folk Music Society’ are really about!! Please check the St.Patrick’s day fest. booklet and come along to the concert. Everyone is welcome!
    Lets use music as a force which unites us all together instead of one that divides us! its supposed to be entertaining!! :):)

    Best Wishes and Sorry to all for giving this long winded music lecture! :):)

  • Santa Clause

    Thank you Harmony.

    It is a pity that you were not given the opportunity to make this clear at the last council meeting.

    This, of course, is a flaw in the constitution.

    Had you had that chance I am sure that the society would have been approved.

    The fears expressed were genuine.

  • Sandles

    Helferty needs to be put in his place.

    I have to tell you that regardless of the makeup of Queen’s the DUA hold a number of seats in SRC. They were elected to this position and fair is fair.

    It has been pointed out above that DUA councillors were free to vote as they wished.

    You my friend are indeed hiding behind a cloak of bigotry urself.

    After all theres two sides to one story and you seek to use this facility to express your opinion and to make the union and indeed unionist students look bad.

    The fact is that Irish Folk Music entails elements of sectarianism. Something which the Union and its students needs to move away from.

  • David McKeown

    In order to establish a society you require 15 names and student numbers of students who wish to have the society created. This is more students than actually voted for around 90% of Students union . Just an interesting point thats worth noting

  • CiarnánHelferty


    ‘Helferty needs to be put in his place’

    What does that mean exactly? Could you elaborate? Is it a threat or just a tripe reactionary statement? i wonder???

    If you make statements which just make you look foolish, then take my advice and just refrain from making any… you will do yourself and those who choose to read this blog a world of good.

  • Bemused

    Oh dear – anyone requiring proof that Queens is without doubt the most provincial, parochial half-arsed excuse for a ‘university’ need only read this thread in it’s entirety. O.K. we all know that the Queens Young Unionists/Loyalists/Flat-earthers etc. are a pretty repellent bunch but really, the raft of inarticulate bog-trash from across the North who flock to the place are (in my view)even worse. If I had ever thought that going to university was going to mean living in a cess-pit, going to mass every Sunday, wearing a GAA top every day and going home at weekends to do my washing and meet up with ‘the lads’ then I would have abandoned any aspirations of further education and simply gotten a job. During the course of my employment I meet a significant number of Queens graduates. I am continually astounded by their inarticulacy, immaturity and general awfulness. As for Jordanstown/U.U. etc. – heaven fucking help us – I’d rather send my kids to college in Kazhakstan…

  • Bill

    Potato Power!