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Michaela McAreavey: Two Men Apologise Over Mockery Of Northern Irish Teacher’s Murder

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Two men have apologised for their involvement in a video on social media of a group appearing to mock the murder of a Northern Irish teacher on her honeymoon.

The video, filmed in a room decorated with union flags and Orange Order paintings, features people chanting about the 2011 murder in Mauritius of , an Irish-language teacher and daughter of the Gaelic football manager Mickey Harte.

It has attracted condemnation from across the political spectrum, and the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) has said it is investigating.

In a statement issued through the PA news agency, John Bell and Andrew McDade said their part in the video was a matter of “deep shame and regret”.

They said: “We offer our sincerest and deepest apology to the Harte and McAreavey families, and indeed to wider society for our actions, which, whilst fuelled by alcohol, can neither be mitigated or excused in any shape or form. Our apology is unequivocal, and our acceptance of wrongdoing is absolute.”

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They described the chant as “offensive, vile and wholly abhorrent” and said the video was not reflective of who they are or “the values of the loyal orders and the wider unionist and loyalist community”. They said friends and family had been subjected to online threats and abuse as a result of their “unacceptable actions”.

McAreavey, 27, was strangled in her room at the Legends hotel in Mauritius after she returned to the room alone and disturbed a burglary, 10 days after marrying her partner, John. No one has been convicted of her murder.

The PSNI said it was aware of the video and was “examining the content to determine if any offences may have been committed”.

The Orange Order called the clip “utterly abhorrent” and said it had launched its own investigation, which it said would lead to disciplinary proceedings against any members found to be involved. A Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland spokesperson said: “The behaviour of those involved and their actions have no place in our society and certainly do not reflect the ethos of our organisation.”

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Linfield FC said a volunteer coach of the girls’ academy who was allegedly involved in the video had had his contract terminated with immediate effect. The club described the video as “offensive, sickening and deeply hurtful” and apologised to the Harte and McAreavey families.

The construction supplies company Norman Emerson Group said it was looking into the alleged involvement of an employee.

Sinn Féin’s vice-president, Michelle O’Neill, said: “Hate and sectarianism have no place in our society. People deserve better. Love over hate will always win out.”

The DUP leader, Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, called the video “vile”, while the Ulster Unionist leader, Doug Beattie, said it was “absolutely abhorrent, disgusting and shameful”.

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The SDLP MLA Justin McNulty wrote on social media: “Fist pumping, table banging, clapping, laughing, jeering – singing a song about the shocking murder of one of the most beautiful people you could ever meet. It’s so sick and shameful.”

The Irish premier, Micheál Martin, said the video was “beyond comprehension”, adding: “I think it speaks to a sectarianism and the degree of malice and hate in society that needs to be dealt with.”

Alamu Tosin

The writer is Alamu Tosin. I have three strong passions in life — football, blogging and movies — in that order. I love spending time with friends talking about the important things in life and hate nothing more than ‘authority’ and hypocrisy. My personal believe in life is that once an individual sets his/her mind to achieve something, it is totally possible. And oh!, I am a strong Lannister, because I always pay my debt. For writing or fixing gigs, contact [email protected]

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