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I'm ashamed of my ex-soldier grandson's Bloody Sunday rant

Connla Young

THE grandmother of an ex-British soldier who taunted Derry-born soccer star James McClean about Bloody Sunday has apologised to the people of the city.

Alice McCroary (70) said she was "ashamed" of former Irish Guard Alan McCroary (25) who goaded the Wigan player amid claims that he had refused to wear a poppy.

She contacted The Irish News to say: "I would like to apologise to the people of Derry.

"I am not politically minded and he was not reared like that."

Mrs McCroary said her own family was "mixed".

"We talk to everybody and make no difference," she said.

"I am ashamed. I don't know what

way to put it."

Mrs McCroary said she could under-stand the grief of those who lost loved ones in the 1972 massacre because her son had died in 2001 at the age of 35.

Alan McCroary, who also uses the surname McCartney, is from Ballymena, Co Antrim.

He joined the British army when he was 16 and served in several of the world's most dangerous war zones including Afghanistan and Iraq.

In 2010 he was given a three-month suspended sentence at Ballymena Magistrates Court for possessing offensive weapons in a public place.

A terrified householder called police saying he had tapped her window with a knife.

When officers challenged him he refused to put down the weapon.

During the trial the court heard that McCroary had taken to drink to cope with the trauma of seeing friends killed in Iraq.

This week it had been rumoured that McClean had been "sent home" by his club for refusing to wear a poppy on Remembrance Sunday.

Manager Owen Coyle dismissed the speculation, saying McClean, from the Creggan, had been left off the squad because of injury.

McClean, who moved from Sunder-land to Wigan this summer, was criticised last year for refusing to wear a jersey bearing the poppy in the run-up to Remembrance Sunday.

On Tuesday McCroary took to Twitter to taunt the Derry man about Bloody Sunday, when 14 civilians were shot dead by the Parachute Regiment.

His comments, posted alongside a picture of Parachute Regiment members, read: "We love Sundays. No apologies. No surrender. All in a day's work. Derry skiprat."

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