Michaela McAreavey: Two men apologise for 'vile' video that mocks bride murdered on her honeymoon

·3-min read

Two men have apologised for their involvement in an online video of people seemingly mocking the murder of Michaela McAreavey.

The 27-year-old Irish language teacher, the daughter of former Tyrone Gaelic football coach Mickey Harte, was killed during her honeymoon in Mauritius in 2011.

The video, filmed in a room bedecked with union flags and Orange Order paintings, shows a group of people singing a song about her death.

In a statement, John Bell and Andrew McDade, said it was a matter of "deep shame and regret" to have been involved in broadcasting and singing about her murder.

They described it as an "offensive, vile and wholly abhorrent chant".

"This Facebook live video was not streamed with the intent of broadcasting any offensive chants whatsoever, rather it was generally broadcasting from the room.

"However, whether broadcast or not, the relevant chants should never have been sung either in public or private.

"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."

In a statement, the Orange Order described the recording as "utterly abhorrent" and condemned the content "without reservation".

"If any of those involved are found to be members of the Institution, they will face disciplinary proceedings," it said.

'Hate and sectarianism have no place in our society'

The Police Service of Northern Ireland said it was aware of the video posted online and is examining the content to determine if any offences had been committed.

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Ireland's Prime Minister Micheal Martin said he was "appalled and horrified" by the clip.

"We all remember that horrific murder of Michaela McAreavey. It's beyond comprehension that people could behave in that manner, and to be so indifferent to the trauma of that the family suffered and in the entire community," he told reporters in Dublin.

"It's just beyond comprehension, and shocking."

Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis MP strongly condemned the video as "reprehensible" and urged anyone with information to contact police.

First minister-designate, Sinn Fein vice president Michelle O'Neill MLA, tweeted that she had contacted Ms McAreavey's widower John to express her support.

"Hate and sectarianism have no place in our society. People deserve better. Love over hate will always win out," she added.

DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson MP said: "This is vile. It is plain wrong and is deeply hurtful to the family of Michaela McAreavey."

Linfield Football Club confirmed it had taken immediate action against a coach at its girls' academy "clearly identified" in the video.

"The coach in question has been contacted and notified that his voluntary association with the club has been terminated with immediate effect," it said.

In another statement, the Norman Emerson Group, a quarry and construction company in County Armagh, said: "We have been made aware of highly offensive social media content allegedly made by one of our employees.

"As a family and as a business, we endeavour to ensure an ethos of respect, inclusivity and consideration in everything we do.

"We will not tolerate or condone sectarianism, bigotry or intimidation in any form by anyone employed by us. Please be assured that a full and thorough internal investigation is under way."

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