Northern Ireland news

Loyalist pastor Barrie Halliday launches tirade against Seamus Mallon and GAA

Pastor Barrie Halliday
Connla Young

A prominent loyalist pastor and former friend of Willie Frazer has launched an outspoken attack on the GAA, branding it “Fenian, dark and hellish”.

Barrie Halliday also described Catholics who go to Gaelic games on a Sunday as “Sabbath breakers”.

The ex-UDR man made the remarks on Facebook just hours after the death of former SDLP Deputy First Minister Seamus Mallon last month.

He filmed the five-minute rant at the grave of loyalist victims’ campaigner Willie Frazer, who died last June.

The footage, which was shot at night and included offensive remarks about Mr Mallon, the GAA and Catholics, was later posted on what appears to be Mr Frazer’s former Facebook page.

Mr Mallon was known for his love of the GAA and Mr Halliday turned his anger on the sporting body.

“Here we have a situation where the country is lining up to say the great man and great contribution Seamus made.

“Yes in the civil rights they lit the fire and then anti-RUC and particularly wicked against the UDR, and with the auld GAA background and everything Fenian and dark and hellish it stands for.”

The former UDR man also criticised Catholics who attended Gaelic games on a Sunday.

“Local GAA clubs, who he (Mr Mallon) was so fond of, and Irish language and the abuse and disgraceful acts of Roman Catholics going to and from their Masses and GAA matches on Sundays and all of that stuff - everything that auld Sabbath breakers do.

“And we would stop them and be as mannerly as we could, it was just ignorance from the word go and we believe that Seamus Mallon contributed greatly that.”

The GAA last night declined to comment.

SDLP assembly member Justin McNulty, who is a former Armagh All-Ireland winner, said “the people insulting the memory of Seamus Mallon aren’t fit to lace his boots”.

Mr Halliday has previously attacked nationalist politicians including Gerry Adams.

He also made headlines in 2013 when he voiced support for former DUP councillor Ruth Patterson after she backed a fictional gun and bomb attack on a republican parade.

She later apologised for the remarks.

In a You Tube video clip Mr Halliday, a former TUV election candidate, claimed there “wasn’t enough” IRA members killed during the Troubles.

In 2017 Mr Halliday was sentenced to nine months in prison, suspended for 18 months, after pleading guilty to 17 counts of VAT repayment fraud.

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