By Alan Rodgers
TWO men involved in the singing of a song glorifying the death of Michaela McAreavey have apologised for their actions and say they will write to the Harte and McAreavey families.
In a statement this lunchtime from JWB Consultancy, John Bell and Andrew McDade said that they want to ‘sincerely apologise’ for their involvement n the boradcasting and singing of a ‘vile’ chant.
“It is a matter of deep shame and regret that we became involved in the Facebook live publication of a video which included the singing of an offensive, vile and wholly abhorrent chant about the deceased Michaela McAreavey,” they said in the statement issued on their behalf.
“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 eiyther 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.
“The incident is not reflective of who we are as people, nor more importantly our respective family and friends. Several family members and friends have been subjected to online threats and abuse in recent hours due to our unacceptable actions. This is unfair and unwarranted; it is us and us alone who are responsible for our actions.
“In addition, this behaviour is unreflective of the Loyal Orders and the wider unionist and loyalist community.
“Whilst it is scant consolation for the hurt our actions have caused, we will write a formal letter of apology to the Harte and McAreavey families and make a confidential donation to a charity of their choice.”
There was widespread outrage following the video emerged showing members of an Orange Lodge singing about the murder of Ballygawley woman more than a decade ago has been described as ‘sickening and disgusting.’
The Grange Orange Lodge of Ireland has condemned the online footage and launched and investigation, as politicians from every political party also expressed their disgust.
Linfield Football Club also terminated with immediate effect the voluntary association of one of its Girls Academy coaches. The club described the video as ‘deeply offensive and hurtful’ and apologised to the Harte and McAreavey families.
“Linfield FC condemns the offensive, sickening and deeply hurtful and insulting chanting that is taking place on the online video and this club wishes to disassociate itself from the unacceptable behaviour that has understandably caused major upset and offence to the Harte/McAreavey families who have suffered terribly since the loss of their daughter/wife several years ago,” the club added.
Sinn Fein Vice-President, Michelle O’Neill, said that she had been contact with Michaela’s widower, John McAreavey, to express her support for the Harte and McAreavey families.
“I have spoken with John McAreavey to offer solidarity to both the McAreavey and Harte families,” she said.
“Hate and sectarianism have no place in our society. People deserve better. Love over hate will always win out.”
The DUP leader, Jeffrey Donaldson, described the video as ‘vile. “It is plain wrong and is deeply hurtful to the family of Michaela McAreavey,” he said.
TUV leader, Jim Allister, also condemned the video.
“The video glorying in the murder of Michaela McAreavey is beyond disgusting, bringing shame and dishonour on all associated with such loathsome behaviour.”
SDLP leader, Colum Eastwood, described the video as ‘absolutely sick.’
Loyalist, Jamie Bryson, also condemned the video, saying it mocked the death of Michaela McAreavey.
“This does not represent unionism or loyalism. It is vile, adhorrent and all those involved should be ashamed, as should those sitting quietly without intervening,” he said.
The Secretary of State, Brandon Lewis, also condemned the video and urged anyone with information to contact the PSNI. He said it was ‘reprehensible’ and ‘deeply upsetting’ for the McAreavey and Harte families.
The PSNI has said it is aware of the video and is are examining the content to determine if any offences may have been committed.
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