Michaela McAreavey’s widower John reacts to video mocking murder: ‘Hate can hurt, but never wins’

The widower of murdered schoolteacher Michaela McAreavey has insisted that ‘hate can hurt, but never wins’ after a video of men mocking her death in a video was widely shared online.

Taking to Twitter on Friday evening, John McAreavey wrote: “Michaela was a vessel of love, courage and dignity. Hate can hurt, but never wins.

Footage shows a group of men singing a song mocking the 2011 murder of Ms McAreavey – the 27-year-old daughter of legendary GAA manager Mickey Harte – who was killed while on honeymoon in Mauritius.

John and Michaela were married just 10 days before she was strangled in their hotel room after disturbing a burglary.

On Instagram, the former Down GAA star shared the same words, alongside a black and white image of a rose.

Sinn Fein MP Michelle Gildernew says the apologies offered by two men involved in the video are “half-baked”.

Speaking to BBC Radio Ulster on Friday, she said: “You just think to yourself, ‘what passes as decency and what kind of young people are we raising if they think it’s okay to sing this kind of song?’

“To be honest, I thought the apology was half-baked, but unless the PSNI takes action to address this problem, bigotry and bigotry like this will continue to happen, generation after generation.”

The Fermanagh and South Tyrone politician said she was mostly “saddened” that no onlookers appeared to come out to condemn the chants in the video.

“Nobody was calling it, nobody was saying ‘stop it’. The level of acceptance is what saddens me the most…I accept that not everyone thinks like that – of course I do – I know a lot of trade unionists are absolutely horrified, but the problem is that there are too many people for whom there is a level of tolerance for this kind of behavior.

Ms Gildernew continued: ‘Until it is called out in droves this will continue and sadly even today I don’t feel like people are taking this seriously enough. This leads to attacks on Catholics.

She appealed to the “leadership” of the PSNI, which confirmed it was investigating the clip, which was widely circulated online.

Ulster Unionist MP Tom Elliott said he expected ‘serious repercussions’ against any Orange Order member involved in the scenes.

Speaking on the same programme, Mr Elliott paused before saying he believed all members of the organization should be removed from it.

It has not yet been confirmed when and where the footage of the chant was taken, but it was filmed in a room decorated with union flags and Orange Order paintings.

The Orange Order has launched an investigation.

Mr Elliott, MP for Fermanagh and South Tyrone, who is himself a member of the Order, said: ‘I think if they are members of the Orange Order there will be repercussions very, very serious and disciplinary action will be taken. I have no doubt that the Orange Order will do this in its own way and through its own channels.

He added that he thought it would be “unfair” for him to comment and “damage any potential issues that may arise” through the PSNI and Orange Order investigations into the footage.

In a statement released by the PA news agency, John Bell and Andrew McDade, who appeared in the video, said it was “a matter of deep shame and regret” to have been involved in the broadcast and the song of his murder.

They added that it was an “offensive, despicable and utterly hateful song” and claimed that it “does not reflect who we are as people”.

Taoiseach Micheal Martin also told media on Friday he was “appalled and horrified” by the video.

The two men involved claimed they had since had family and friends “subjected to online threats and abuse” following the sharing of the video.

“This Facebook live video was not broadcast for the purpose of broadcasting offensive chants, but rather broadcast from the venue,” the JWB Consultancy statement continued.

“However, whether broadcast or not, the songs concerned should never have been sung either in public or in private.

“We offer our sincerest and deepest apologies to the Harte and McAreavey families, and to society at large for our actions which, although fueled by alcohol, cannot be mitigated or excused in any way. shape whatsoever.

“Our apologies are unequivocal and our acceptance of wrongdoing is absolute.”

Linfield Football Club has also issued an apology and confirmed that it has removed one of its volunteer coaches from the Girls’ Academy after his involvement in a video mocking the death of Michaela McAreavey.

Another company – Craigavon-based sand and gravel supplier Norman Emerson Group Ltd – also said it was investigating claims the video was “made by one of our employees”.

Justice Minister Naomi Long said she raised the video with PSNI Chief Constable Simon Byrne, calling it “depraved”.

The video was widely condemned across the political spectrum.

DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson called it ‘vile’, adding that it is ‘utterly wrong and deeply hurtful to the family of Michaela McAreavey’.

Sinn Fein’s Michelle O’Neill said she had spoken with John McAreavey and said “hate and bigotry have no place in our society”.

Dame Arlene Foster added that the footage was “so fake and hateful” and sent her love to Ms McAreavey’s family.

Ulster Unionist Party leader Doug Beattie said the incident “must be investigated by the PSNI as well as the Orange Order” as he called for measures are taken “against all those responsible”.

TUV chief Jim Allister called it “beyond disgusting”.

“The video bragging about the murder of Michaela McAreavey is beyond disgusting, bringing shame and dishonor to all those associated with such disgusting behavior,” he wrote.

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