Northern Ireland news

Man pictured in Michaela video apologises for not stopping others singing 'completely unacceptable song'

Richard Beattie has been named as one of those pictured in a video showing people singing a song mocking the murder of Michaela McAreavey

A MAN pictured in the video which mocked the murder of Michaela McAreavey has apologised for not stopping others from "singing the completely unacceptable song".

Richard Beattie, a driving instructor who had links to Portadown Football Club, issued a statement through loyalist campaigner Jamie Bryson's JWB Consultancy after footage emerged of people in Dundonald Orange Hall singing a song mocking the 2011 killing of Mrs McAreavey (27).

Mr Beattie, from Portadown Driving School, said: "Whilst neither I or any of my colleagues were singing the completely unacceptable song, we were present and did not stop it. That was wrong and accordingly I echo the absolute and unequivocal apology."

A spokesman for Portadown Football Club said: "The individual in question holds no official position within Portadown Football Club. They did however have a pitch-side advertising board, which has now been removed.

"Portadown Football Club is totally opposed to sectarianism, bigotry, racism, prejudice and any form of discriminatory behaviour."

JWB also confirmed Mr Beattie has resigned from the Orange Order and will be contacting the PSNI about online threats.

Since Mr Beattie was publicly named, hundreds of people have bombarded his driving school with one star Google reviews.

Meanwhile, a council has launched an internal investigation after one of its employees was shown in the video.

John Bell – a former part-time firefighter who was sacked by Linfield Football Club as a voluntary coach when the video became public – works as a binman for Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council.

John Bell is a former part-time firefighter

Mr Bell and another man, Andrew McDade, said they wanted to "offer our sincerest and deepest apology to the Harte and McAreavey families" after the video emerged.

The council condemned the behaviour as "sectarian".

"While we acknowledge that the behaviour undertaken was carried out in a private capacity, beyond the control of the council, we wish to reassure the public that we are treating this matter with the utmost seriousness, and have launched an internal investigation," the council said.

It said we "utterly condemn this type of defamatory and sectarian behaviour" and expressed "sincere sympathy to the McAreavey and Harte families at this distressing time".

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Northern Ireland news