Singing trio say that the famously misbehaving rock star has a 'depth and sincerity' to him that is not picked up by the media

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 “distasteful” and criticised the Irish singer’s “scandalous character”.

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But Fr David Delargy said it was a privilege to work with him and that he had a “depth and sincerity” 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.

“He came across as a deeper, richer and more complex person than he’s often portrayed,” 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 O’Hagan, were keen on the idea. “A lot of my family and friends are big fans of his,” he said.

But he said it was not “a comment or judgment” on MacGowan’s past behaviour and was not intended to “give approval to things people may object to”.

The single is from The Priests’ third album, Noël, 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.

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