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Orange Order

Two men apologise for involvement in ‘vile’ video mocking Michaela McAreavey murder

The Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland has also launched an investigation into the video.

TWO MEN HAVE apologised after a video emerged on social media appearing to show a group of people singing a song that mocks the murder of Michaela McAreavey.

The video appears to have been taken in an Orange Hall in Northern Ireland.

The video has prompted widespread criticism across Ireland both north and south with Taoiseach Micheál Martin describing it as “beyond comprehension”.

Footage of the incident, which shows a number of people singing about the murder, was posted online in recent days but began to go viral last night.

McAreavey, the daughter of GAA manager Mickey Harte, was strangled in her room at the Legends Hotel in Mauritius while on honeymoon on 10 January, 2011.

The teacher, who had married husband John McAreavey ten days earlier, was attacked after she returned to her room alone and disturbed a burglary.

No-one has been convicted of murdering her.

The song in the video, which appears to be sung in an Orange Hall, contains the words “went to Mauritius on her honeymoon”.

It also contains the line, “went to the room to get a wee treat”, and references John McAreavey.

There has been swift and widespread criticism across the political, civic and business worlds to the content of the video. 

In a statement this afternoon issued to the PA news agency, two men have apologised for their part in the incident. 

John Bell and Andrew McDade say it was a “matter of deep shame and regret” to have been involved in broadcasting and singing about her murder.

They said that it was 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.”

They add:

This incident is not reflective of who we are as people, nor more importantly of our respective families 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 values of the Loyal Orders and the wider unionist and loyalist community.

Whilst it is scant consolation for the hurt our actions will 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. 


Earlier today, the PSNI has said it is examining the content of the video.

“We are aware of the video posted online relating to Michaela McAreavey and we are examining the content to determine if any offences may have been committed,” the force said in a statement.

A spokesman for the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland criticised the video and also confirmed that an investigation would now take place.

“The video currently circulating on social media relating to the murder of Michaela McAreavey is utterly abhorrent and the Orange Institution condemns the content without reservation,” a statement read.

“The behaviour of those involved and their actions have no place in our society and certainly do not reflect the ethos of our organisation.

“The Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland has instigated an inquiry into the incident and if any of those involved are found to be members of the Institution, they will face disciplinary proceedings.”

Political representatives from across the political spectrum also expressed anger over the video.

Speaking at the ALDE conference in Dublin’s Convention Centre, Micheál Martin said he was “appalled and horrified” upon seeing the video.

“We all remember the horrific murder of Michaela McAreavey. It’s beyond comprehension that people could behave in that manner and be so indifferent to the trauma that her family suffered and the entire community,” he said.

“I think it speaks to sectarianism and a degree of malice and hate in society that needs to be dealt with and those involved in that should apologise in the first instance.

“Those involved should reflect very strongly on that. It’s beyond comprehension.”


Maolíosa Mc Hugh, a Sinn Féin MLA for West Tyrone, said he was “absolutely disgusted” and added that he would be “bringing this to the attention of the PSNI”.

The SDLP’s Patsy McGlone, an MLA for Mid-Ulster, said the video is “about as base in humanity as you can go”, while his party colleague, councillor Malachy Quinn, labelled it “reprehensible” and said all “those involved should be bloody ashamed”.

Kate Nicholl, an Alliance MLA for South Belfast, said she was shocked by the “hatred displayed in the video of men singing and laughing about the horrific murder of a young woman”.

She has also reported the incident to the PSNI and called on Mervyn Gibson, the Grand Secretary of the Orange Order, to take action.

Sinn Féin MP for Fermanagh/South Tyrone, Michelle Gildernew, tweeted: “A beautiful young woman was murdered on honeymoon and this is how loyalists “celebrate” the Queen’s jubilee.”

Unionist politicians have also condemned the video.

DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson has called the video “vile” and said it is “plain wrong and is deeply hurtful to the family of Michaela McAreavey”.

Ulster Unionist Party leader Doug Beattie also labelled it “abhorrent, disgusting and shameful”, while his party colleague Robbie Butler MLA said he could “only imagine what this does to her poor family”.

TUV leader Jim Allister added: “The video glorying in the murder of Michaela McAreavey is beyond disgusting, bringing shame and dishonour on all associated with such loathsome behaviour.”

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney noted the wide condemnation of the “shameful video”. 

“Important to see condemnation across the board of this hateful and shameful behaviour. Our thoughts and solidarity are with John and Michaela’s family,” he tweeted.  

Northern Ireland Secretary of State Brandon Lewis also condemned the video calling it “reprehensible and deeply upsetting”.

“The individuals involved are completely thoughtless and only wish to cause harm. They have no support from Northern Ireland’s communities. I utterly condemn those involved,” he said. 

- With reporting by Press Association, Rónán Duffy and Lauren Boland