Joe Brolly: McAreavey song is part of a 'very sectarian culture'

The PSNI is examining the content to determine if any offences had been committed
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

18.54 3 Jun 2022

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Joe Brolly: McAreavey song is...

Joe Brolly: McAreavey song is part of a 'very sectarian culture'

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

18.54 3 Jun 2022

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Behaviour seen in a video, which shows people seemingly mocking the murder of Michaela McAreavey, is part of a 'very sectarian culture'.

That's according to commentator Joe Brolly, who was speaking after footage of the video emerged online.

The 27-year-old Irish language teacher was killed during her honeymoon in Mauritius in 2011.


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

Joe told The Hard Shoulder there seemed to be no attempt to stop the song.

"There are people of all ages there... this song has clearly been written, been learned off by heart.

"There's a trumphalist tone, which we've been all too familiar with in the North I suppose since the foundation of the state.

"This idea that they are supreme, and that they can behave how they like towards our community, is really just underscored in this.

"No one is doing anything other than revelling in it and enjoying it - and so it's very depressing".

He says this is part of a wider culture.

"You look at the centenary parade last week and it was largely very peaceful.

"But the content of the speeches, what has been happening in the North over the last year... where we're the enemies.

"'Our enemies will not succeed against us' - Arlene Foster talking about 'those who seek to denigrate us will not succeed.'

"Jeffrey Donaldson saying 'We will be here for another 100 years in spite of our enemies'.

"All of that inflammatory talk tells you that what happened in that Orange lodge - which was filmed joyfully and posted joyfully - is part of a culture.

"A very sectarian culture".

'Some sort of turning point'

Joe says he hopes this is part of a turning point for the region.

"Hopefully this will be some sort of turning point where serious work will have to be done on the sort of sectarianism and hate which is peddled day in, day out.

"The subtle hints from the leadership of the DUP, from the TUV, make all of this acceptable.

"And it's all well and good for them today to condemn this - of course, it's impossible not to condemn it.

"But they all have a duty and we know, how over the last year, hysteria has been whooped up in the North and so this behaviour is acceptable - unless you're caught".

And he says people are moving towards better things.

"Everything's moving in one direction in the North, and I wouldn't let what has happened today depress people too much.

"We're really on the cusp of moving towards a far better, more secular society."

Two men have since apologised for their involvement in the video.

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 the 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.

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

Joe Brolly: McAreavey song is part of a 'very sectarian culture'

00:00:00 / 00:00:00
Main image: Joe Brolly is seen before a match between Donegal and Mayo at MacCumhaill Park in Ballybofey, Donegal in January 2020. Picture by: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

Additional reporting: IRN

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Andrew McDade British Flags Joe Brolly John Bell McAreavey Song Michaela McAreavey Orange Order The Hard Shoulder

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