Northern Ireland news

Down star apologises for his behaviour during loyalist parade

Gregory McCartan helping the Mourne men to an All-Ireland title in 1994

AN All-Ireland winner has expressed regret at his behaviour during a loyalist band parade in Co Down.

Former Down GAA star Gregory McCartan last night apologised for his actions and told The Irish News, “I regret the whole thing”.

It comes after a video emerged on social media of a man shouting pro-IRA slogans and abuse at participants of a band parade through Newcastle on Saturday night.

The man can be heard yelling “up the f*****g Provos” and “up the ‘Ra” as well as chanting “the I, the I, the IRA” as the Maghera Star of Down flute band parade took place in the town.

Mr McCartan, who played in Down’s 1994 All-Ireland-winning campaign, later posted a message on Twitter stating: “So much culture on show tonight throughout Ireland. Glad I played my part”.

His actions were criticised by DUP assembly member Jim Wells, who said he would be “asking the PSNI to review the video”.

The former Ballymartin and Castlewellan club man posted another message on his Twitter, which said: “Apologies to anyone who took offence to my tweet the other night folks.

“Lesson learned should never have happened. Alcohol no excuse.”

It also appeared last night that his Twitter account had been deleted. But Mr Wells has called on police to investigate Mr McCartan’s “sectarian outburst”.

“I was in Newcastle on Saturday evening and witnessed former Down GAA player Greg McCartan shouting pro IRA slogans at the Pride of the Hill band from Rathfriland,” he said.

“This band includes several young people and there were children who heard his sectarian outburst.

“I am asking the PSNI to review the video of the incident which Mr McCartan put on his own Twitter site with a view to charging him with a hate crime.”

Ulster Unionist councillor Alan Lewis also said: “This type of behaviour drags us back to the sectarian divisions of the past.
“This was vile sectarian abuse shouted within earshot of young children.”

A PSNI spokesman last night said: “Police have received reports in relation to a video posted on a social media site over the weekend. Enquiries are continuing.”

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