Young Conway Volunteers sail home

Thirteen members of Young Conway Volunteers have been found innocent of provocatively playing a sectarian tune outside St Patrick’s Church in July 2012. They played the tune made famous by the Beach Boys: “Sloop John B”. At their initial trial they had been found guilty as the tune is also that of “The Famine Song”. However, as demonstrated by the defence counsel the tune is also used with multiple different lyrics. At the initial hearing they were found guilty but this has been overturned with the Crown offering no evidence provided the band members agreed to being bound over to keep the peace.

Clearly the court accepted that the fact that a tune has other potentially offensive sectarian lyrics does not mean that when one is playing the tune they automatically mean it to be the sectarian one. Had this not been overturned playing almost any tune could have been deemed sectarian if someone had written alternative lyrics.