Northern Ireland news

O'Neill's criticised by Eileen Paisley over Derry Girls shirt

A yellow and green shirt which features a character from Derry Girls - Sister Michael - doing her legendary eye-roll with the quote `Sweet Suffering Jehovah' is being sold by O'Neills Sportswear prompting a complaint from Eileen Paisley, widow of the late Ian Paisley

THE widow of former DUP leader Ian Paisley has hit out at a Belfast sports store for selling a shirt based on the hit TV comedy Derry Girls with a logo she claims is "blasphemous" and has left Christians "broken-hearted".

Baroness Eileen Paisley said it was with "great sadness" that she was raising an issue to do with a jersey being sold by O'Neills Sportswear at its new flagship Royal Avenue store.

The yellow and green shirt features a character from Derry Girls - Sr Michael - rolling her eyes with the quote `Sweet Suffering Jehovah'.

It is one of five jerseys, all of which are stamped with the Our Lady Immaculate College crest, created following the success of the Derry-based comedy TV show.

Other shirts in the range feature various members of the cast with statements such as 'Wise Up', 'Catch Yourself On' and 'Derry Hurls'.

Baroness Paisley said: "It is with great sadness that I write regarding an item advertised for sale in the new O'Neills sports shop opened this week by the lord mayor of our great capital city.

Eileen Paisley. Picture by Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press.

"I'm sure I speak on behalf of a great number of Bible-believing Christians who are broken-hearted at such a blasphemous advertisement, demeaning the Holy Name of God, and using the picture of a young lady dressed as a nun under the words 'Sweet Suffering Jehovah'.

"I am sure there are many people from the Roman Catholic Church who will also be grieved to see their religion insulted in this way."

She also said Belfast mayor Daniel Baker, who officially opened the new O'Neills shop, "must also remember that he is the lord mayor of all the citizens of Belfast and treat them all equally, whether he agrees with them or not".

"I would say to everyone, irrespective of religion, colour, class or creed, whether rich or poor, old or young, the thrice-holy God so sadly demeaned, stands ready with outstretched arms to receive all who call upon Him to receive them as His redeemed ones".

O'Neills Sportswear was contacted for comment but did not respond.

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