Loughshore Hotel distances itself from wedding party who sang 'f*** the Pope and the IRA' at reception
A HOTEL in Co Antrim has said it "does not condone the actions" of members of a wedding party who sang "f*** the Pope and the IRA" during a reception.
In a second statement issued yesterday on social media last night, the Loughshore Hotel in Carrickfergus said events on Friday had "absolutely nothing to do with the owners, management or staff" and added that to have intervened would have risked "what was a 90 second episode where no-one was hurt becoming something much worse".
In a video posted on social media, the bride and groom can be seen entering the Loughview Suite and leading their guests in a rendition of the Tina Turner classic Simply the Best.
The hit song was adopted as a loyalist slogan and anthem by Johnny Adair's notorious UDA 'C' Company unit.
The newlyweds are seen raising their hands in the air and singing adapted lyrics of the song, including "f*** the Pope and the IRA".
The video prompted a furious reaction online, with one user writing that he "got married in this room" and was "absolutely disgusted".
A spokesman for the Loughshore Hotel said it has a "long history of representation from many political and religious beliefs throughout all levels of the organisational structure".
"We have faithfully served people of varied racial, religious, cultural and political backgrounds with impartiality, an impartiality that extends to all of our suppliers.
"Specifically regarding the content of the video of the wedding, we do not condone the actions of the wedding party and do not give any support to the communications highlighted."
In a further statement issued on Facebook yesterday, the hotel's group operations director, Stephen Carson, said it had answered "our customers comments directly and privately via Facebook messenger, email etc" but that the level of messages had become "too great to answer directly".
"It is becoming a distraction from our core business which is 'looking after our customers'," he wrote.
"The events that took place did so in a private room, hired by a couple to hold their wedding reception. The events that took place had absolutely nothing to do with the owners, management or staff of the Belfast Loughshore Hotel."
Mr Carson explained that the hotel manager has the "full support of our hospitality family".
"To the many people commenting 'why didn’t the hotel manager step in and put a stop to it?' - my answer is simple - I as the leader of the company would never ask or expect anyone who works with me to do something that I would not do myself.
"I can assure you all that I would not be prepared to 'pull the plug' and risk what was a 90 second episode where no-one was hurt becoming something much worse.
"We will not be responding to any further emails or messages about this event and I apologise in advance for any upset that may cause," he added.