Singing trio The Priests have defended their decision to collaborate with Pogues frontman Shane MacGowan after criticism from fans.
They teamed up with MacGowan, a former heroin addict and famously misbehaving rock star, to produce their Christmas single The Little Drummer Boy.
Fans online described the collaboration as â€œdistastefulâ€ and criticised the Irish singerâ€™s â€œscandalous characterâ€.
But Fr David Delargy said it was a privilege to work with him and that he had a â€œdepth and sincerityâ€ that is not picked up by the media. At the end of the recording session, Fr Delargy said, he asked the priests for a blessing.
â€œHe came across as a deeper, richer and more complex person than heâ€™s often portrayed,â€ he said.
Fr Delargy said their management team suggested the collaboration initially as a joke but that he and his fellow singing priests, Fr Eugene and Fr Martin Oâ€™Hagan, were keen on the idea. â€œA lot of my family and friends are big fans of his,â€ he said.
But he said it was not â€œa comment or judgmentâ€ on MacGowanâ€™s past behaviour and was not intended to â€œgive approval to things people may object toâ€.
The single is from The Priestsâ€™ third album, NoÃ«l, a compilation of Christmas carols which will be released on December 6.
Shane MacGowan is perhaps best known for the 1987 festive hit, Fairytale of New York, featuring the late Kirsty MacColl.