Northern Ireland news

Footballer Joe Gorman apologises 'unreservedly' for controversial Orange Order remarks in 2014

Footballer Joe Gorman has apologised "unreservedly" for controversial comments he made about the Orange Order in 2014
Marie Louise McConville

A Dublin footballer who made controversial remarks about the Orange Order has apologised "unreservedly" for the comments.

Joe Gorman, who has played for a number of clubs in Ireland, Scotland and England, described the 2014 tweet as a "grave error of judgment on my part and one I wish I could take back".

The apology comes just days after a transfer deal with Portadown FC fell through.

On Saturday the Irish league club announced he was a new signing of the Galway Utd defender, tweeting: "Portadown Football Club is delighted to announce the signing of 27-year-old Irish defender Joe Gorman".

But within days, following a backlash by supporters, the club confirmed that the contract offer had been withdrawn and they would not be signing Gorman.

It emerged that as 19 year-old Gorman tweeted: "Ross Kemp in Belfast talking about the Troubles. Wouldn’t you just love to open up on all them Orangemen" in response to a TV documentary about Belfast.

At the time Gorman was a youth team footballer at the Scottish club Inverness Caledonian Thistle. He was later suspended by the club.

Posting on Twitter this week, Gorman said he wanted to "address an issue from my past".

"In 2014, at the age of 19, I posted a tweet that I sincerely regret," he wrote.

"It was at a time in my life where my world view was particularly narrow and I did not appreciate the gravity of my comment.

"I had not intended for it to be taken seriously but I now completely understand why many people did so and were naturally very upset by it.

"It was borne out of a combination of teenage bravado and a lack of understanding. I say this not as an excuse but merely by way of explanation.

"It was a grave error of judgment on my part and one I wish I could take back".

He added: "I have grown up and appreciate that we all have different outlooks on life which must be respected.

"I apologise unreservedly and I would like to educate younger people as I did back in 2014 when I visited schools to speak of bigotry and the correct use of social media so that others can learn from my mistake".

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