Kneecap are a group that most international audiences were not aware of until recently - but their forthcoming film, which recently debuted at Sundance and stars Michael Fassbender, is set to change that.

The Belfast rappers were set to capitalise on their profile boost by playing the world's biggest music showcase festival, SXSW in Austin, Texas this week, but staying true to their strong political ideas, they have decided to pull out of the festival.

The trio cited the festival's sponsorship by the US Army, amongst others, posting a lengthy missive on Instagram yesterday explaining how they "cannot in good conscience attend an arts festival that has ‘The U.S Army’ as a ‘Super Sponsor’ and is platforming RTX (formerly Raytheon), Collins Aerospace, and BAE Systems, the very companies selling the weapons that have murdered 31,000 Palestinians, over 21,000 of them women and children."

They added that they "have made the decision to cancel our three shows at SXSW and not travel to Austin as planned on Tuesday.

“It is done in solidarity with the people of Palestine and to highlight the unacceptable deep links the festival has to weapons companies and the US military who at this very moment are enabling a genocide and famine against a trapped population."

Kneecap are one of several acts to pull out of SXSW in protest at its links to the ongoing genocide in Palestine, and the second Irish act in recent days to make a high-profile stand. When collecting their award for Irish Album of the Year at Vicar Street last Thursday, Lankum used their speech to urge people to boycott Israeli goods and do "everything in their power" to put pressure on Irish politicians to take meaningful action.

"We’re really grateful to get this award, but to be honest it’s really hard to see how we can celebrate it with an actual live genocide going on," said Ian Lynch from the band.

“It feels like there’s very little to be celebrating to be honest and every day seems more and more hopeless than the one before it. You know, you’re trying to appeal to the consciences of people who may or may not have a conscience to begin with."