In a statement given to The Tonight Show on Virgin Media One, Shane McGowan has addressed the growing controversy surrounding 'Fairytale Of New York' and its use of a homophobic slur in its lyrics.

“The word was used by the character because it fitted with the way she would speak and with her character," the statement begins. "She is not supposed to be a nice person, or even a wholesome person. She is a woman of a certain generation at a certain time in history and she is down on her luck and desperate. Her dialogue is as accurate as I could make it but she is not intended to offend!"

The statement goes on, saying that Kirsty MacColl's character in the song "is just supposed to be an authentic character and not all characters in songs and stories are angels or even decent and respectable, sometimes characters in songs and stories have to be evil or nasty in order to tell the story effectively."

"If people don’t understand that I was trying to accurately portray the character as authentically as possible then I am absolutely fine with them bleeping the word but I don’t want to get into an argument."

While the song has not been pulled from radio stations ala 'Baby, It's Cold Outside', some radio stations have taken to bleeping the song lyric from 'Fairytale Of New York', reasoning that songs that use racial slurs or adult language are bleeped in the same way.