Inside Shane MacGowan and Sinead O'Connor's friendship – famous fallout, lifesaving gesture and death heartache | The Sun

SHANE MacGowan was left heartbroken after the death of close friend Sinead O'Connor back in July and and told her: I hope you’re at peace now.

And Irish President Michael D Higgins said there was "particular poignancy" that the death of Pogues legend Shane today had so quickly followed Sinead's passing.

Fairytale of New York hitmaker Shane, who had been battling viral encephalitis, died at 3am this morning, his devastated family confirmed.

MacGowan and his beloved wife Victoria Mary Clarke had told of their devastation when Sinead was found dead in London on July 26.

The Tipperary rocker was firm friends with the Dublin singer, having teamed up on numerous occasions – most memorably for a recording of hit single Haunted in 1995.

The duo, who go back a long way, also performed on stage together multiple times.

But over the course of their friendship they also fell out over Shane's drug use, with Sinead shopping him to the Met Police in London in 1999 for drug possession to try to stop him using heroin.

He was arrested at his home in north-west London after O’Connor contacted police.

At the time of Shane’s arrest, O’Connor said she had telephoned the emergency services after she found the singer collapsed on the floor of his home.

“I love Shane,” Sinead said, “and it makes me angry to see him destroy himself selfishly in front of those who love him.”



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O’Connor later confirmed: “I reported him to the police for his own good. I never wanted him put into prison, because drugs are freely available there, but ordered into a rehabilitation programme.”

But a furious Shane fumed: “She’s got no right. It’s none of her business what I do.”

He also shrugged off the furore after it hit the headlines and said: “I might as well clear up the fact that she has made out that I was lying on the floor in a coma.

“In fact I was sitting on the sofa having a G&T and watching the Sam Peckinpah movie Cross of Iron.”

Police dealt with the matter by way of a formal caution which requires the accused to admit their guilt.

When the caution was accepted, the case against Shane was discontinued.

The Crown Prosecution Service had considered there was enough evidence to proceed, but a spokeswoman insisted the incident had been concluded with a “rapping across the knuckles” from the police.


The feuding pair eventually made up and Shane later thanked his pal for helping him win his battle with drugs.

MacGowan’s substance battles were well-documented and during his heyday, he would often perform and give interviews while drunk.

In later years, Shane admitted he was incredibly grateful to Sinead for saving his life.

He was asked in an interview: “I understand that your friend Sinead O’Connor got you arrested a couple years back after she saw you snorting heroin in your own flat.”

Shane replied: “That’s right, yeah.”

The interview continued: “Did this end your relationship with her?”

Shane said: “No, but it ended my relationship with heroin.”

He added: “I’m not recommending to people that they should rat their friends out to the police, you know what I mean?

“At the time I was furious, obviously, but I’m actually very grateful to her now.”


The pair famously reunited when the Pogues played a sold-out RDS in the 2000s, with O’Connor joining MacGowan for a rendition of Fairytale of New York.

The pair remained good friends, and Sinead often stayed with Shane and his wife Victoria Mary when she was back in Ireland.

And after Sinead's death, Victoria Mary shared a snap of Sinead and Shane in their heyday and expressed their sorrow at the news.

She wrote: “We don’t really have words for this but we want to thank you Sinead for your love and your friendship and your compassion and your humour and your incredible music.

“We pray that you are at peace now with your beautiful boy. Love Victoria and Shane.”

And a source close to the star said: “Shane is absolutely floored by this. He and Sinead were very close.

“They had their ups and downs over the years but they were the best of friends. Victoria and Shane and Sinead were extremely close.

“She stayed with them frequently when she was in town. They are absolutely heartbroken at the news.”

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After O’Connor tragically lost her son in early 2022 – named Shane after her Haunted co-singer – MacGowan reached out on social media saying: “Sinead you have always been there for me and for so many people, you have been a comfort and a soul who is not afraid to feel the pain of the suffering.

“You have always tried to heal and help. I pray that you can be comforted and find strength, healing & peace in your own sorrow and loss.”

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