WEST Belfast rappers Kneecap have launched legal proceedings against the British government after their application for funding from a music promotion scheme was blocked – because they're Irish republicans.

On Thursday, the group revealed that their application for assistance from the Music Export Growth Scheme (MEGS) had been knocked back.

Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch announced £1.6 million in MEGS funding to boost 67 artists from across the UK and support homegrown musical talent.

Kneecap say that despite their application being approved by the selection board, it was subsequently blocked by the British government.

When we called to find out why, a spokesperson for the Department of Business and Trade said the trio had been refused funding because they are "people that oppose the United Kingdom". 

On Friday, Phoenix Law said they have been instructed by Kneecap to begin legal proceedings against the decision by the British government's Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch, stating that her decision is "unlawful".

The legal team includes Darragh Mackin, Joe Brolly and Ronan Lavery QC.

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood has submitted a Parliamentary Questions about the decision to "defund artists in the North on the basis of their constitutional aspirations".

"Art should be challenging and no one should be subject to discrimination on the basis that they support Irish Unity," he added.