Northern Ireland news

American clothing company removes controversial St Patrick's Day t-shirt from sale

The t-shirt had been removed from sale

AN American clothing company has withdrawn a controversial St Patrick's Day t-shirt showing a map of Ireland, but omitting the six counties, after it caused a backlash online.

J.Crew also issued an apology for "any unintended offence" following criticism of the garment, which was deemed "offensive" to Irish people.

The grey t-shirt features a green map of Ireland on it, but with one glaring omission - Northern Ireland has been removed. The words 'beer', 'more beer' and 'whiskey' are also emblazoned across the map.

Social media users criticised the clothing firm for the error and inundated the company asking why the six counties of the north had been left off the map.

Other people also accused J.Crew for stereotyping Irish people ahead of St Patrick's Day.

St Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, is thought to have first come to Ireland at Slemish Mountain and died in Downpatrick - areas of Northern Ireland not shown on the t-shirt.

One Twitter user who posted a picture of the garment said: "Hey, @jcrew, it’s great that you’re doing an Irish t-shirt for St Patrick's Day, but this is offensive, bordering on obnoxious, for a couple of reasons.

"I'll let you figure it out for yourselves, but showing the design to any Irish person would have helped."

Another social media user said: "Saint Patrick's Day is an all Irish Day, celebrated by people in the 32 counties of Ireland. Do your homework then print".

Another added: "They left out the actual place where he (St Patrick) lived, died and is buried", while another said: "So the north of Ireland no longer exists and the south of Ireland is inhabited by alcoholics".

Belfast-born broadcaster Andrea Catherwood also criticised the t-shirt, tweeting: "Do you know where Slemish is J Crew? Or what it is? Have you heard of Downpatrick? Your eviscerated map has left out the places St Patrick lived, where he died and was buried".

It is understood that the t-shirt was on sale on the J Crew Factory website for $11.50 (£8.50).

But a spokesman for J Crew last night said the item was no longer for sale.

"This product has been removed from sale and we regret any unintended offence it may have caused," he said.

It is not the first time that Northern Ireland has been left out on a map.

Sports clothing giant Reebok was forced to apologise in 2015 when it is also omitted the six counties of Northern Ireland in one of its t-shirts.

The 'Ireland' top was part of its UFC range, pushed out ahead of a UFC Fight Night Dublin event. Reebok put the mistake down to a 'design error' as they apologised for the offence caused and removed it from sale on its website.

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