Police probe video of song mocking Michaela McAreavey's murder

A still from the video shot in a Dundonald Orange hall

POLICE are investigating a video filmed in an Orange hall that shows a group of men mocking the murder of Michaela McAreavey.

The PSNI last night confirmed that it was examining the content to "determine if any offences may have been committed".

It came as the Orange Order yesterday joined politicians from across the spectrum in condemning the behaviour of those who appeared in the video, which is understood to have been filmed last weekend following the centenary march in Belfast.

A statement from the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland described it as "utterly abhorrent".

Two men involved in the video offered an apology for their actions.

John Bell and Andrew McDade issued a statement through the PA news agency expressing "deep shame and regret" and promising to write a formal letter of apology to the Harte and McAreavey families.

Linfield Football Club moved to sack a club volunteer allegedly involved in the video, while construction supplies company Norman Emerson Group also issued a statement to say it was looking into the alleged involvement of an employee.

Mrs McAreavey was 27 when she was strangled in her room at the Legends Hotel while on honeymoon in Mauritius in 2011.

The teacher, who had married husband John 10 days earlier, was attacked after she returned to her room alone and disturbed a burglary.

No-one has been convicted of murdering the daughter of former Tyrone manager Mickey Harte.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin described the video as "beyond comprehension", while Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald said those involved were "beneath contempt". Her party colleague Michelle O'Neill said she had spoken to John McAreavey to offer "solidarity" to the families.

"Hate and sectarianism have no place in our society," the Sinn Féin Stormont leader said. "People deserve better. Love over hate will always win out."

DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson labelled the video "vile" and "deeply hurtful to the family of Michaela McAreavey".

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood described it as ''absolutely sick", while Justice Minister Naomi Long said she would be raising the matter with the chief constable.

Ulster Unionist leader Doug Beattie called the video "absolutely abhorrent, disgusting and shameful" and TUV leader Jim Allister said it was "beyond disgusting".

Secretary of State Brandon Lewis labelled the video "reprehensible".

He said the individuals involved "have no support from Northern Ireland's communities".

The video in question shows a group of people, mostly men, drinking in an Orange hall that is understood to be in Dundonald on the outskirts of east Belfast. Union flag bunting hangs from the ceiling, while Orange banners are draped on the walls.

Together they sing a song that graphically references the circumstances of Mrs McAreavey's murder, while some onlookers laugh and clap gleefully.

The Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland said it had begun an inquiry into the events, which it said it condemned "without reservation".

"The behaviour of those involved and their actions have no place in our society and certainly do not reflect the ethos of our organisation," the statement said.

"The Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland has instigated an inquiry into the incident and if any of those involved are found to be members of the institution, they will face disciplinary proceedings."

Sinn Féin MP Michelle Gildernew said she reported the matter to the PSNI.

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