- 03 Jun 22
Michaela McAreavey, the daughter of GAA manager Mickey Harte, killed on 10 January, 2011 in Mauritius.
Michaela McAreavey, a much-loved teacher from Northern Ireland, was murdered while on honeymoon with her new husband, John McAreavey, in 2011.
Yesterday, a video appearing to show men singing chants about the murder of McAreavey has caused deep anger, with widespread condemnation by politicians in the North.
While it has not yet been verified where the scenes in the video took place, it is understood it occurred during the Centenary celebrations, with Orange Order banners in the background and Union flag bunting.
Michaela, the daughter of Tyrone GAA manager Mickey Harte, was strangled in her room at the Legends Hotel in Mauritius. The teacher, who had married husband John McAreavey ten days earlier, was attacked after she returned to her room alone and disturbed a burglary. To this day, no one has been convicted of her murder.
The song at the Jubilee celebration contains the words “went to Mauritius on her honeymoon”, and the line, “went to the room to get a wee treat”. John McAreavey is also referenced, as is Michaelas father, the multiple All-Ireland Senior Football Championship-winning Gaelic football manager.
Political representatives from across the political divide have expressed anger over the video since it was shared on social media last night.
Maolíosa Mc Hugh, a Sinn Féin MLA for West Tyrone, remarked he was “absolutely disgusted”, adding that he would be “bringing this to the attention of the PSNI”.
I am absolutely disgusted at video footage which shows a number of individuals singing about the death of Michaela Mc Areavey. I will be bringing this to the attention of the PSNI tomorrow morning.
— Maolíosa Mc Hugh-Sinn Féin (@MaoliosaMcH) June 2, 2022
The SDLP’s Patsy McGlone, an MLA for Mid-Ulster, said the video is “about as base in humanity as you can go”, while his party colleague, councillor Malachy Quinn, labelled it “reprehensible” and said all “those involved should be bloody ashamed”.
Kate Nicholl, an Alliance MLA for South Belfast, said she was shocked by the “hatred displayed in the video of men singing and laughing about the horrific murder of a young woman”.
The fact that the words to the song were known and that it was sung during a centenary event at an Orange Order Lodge is disturbing. I have also written to Mervyn Gibson to ask what action he will be taking.
— Kate Nicholl (@KateNicholl) June 3, 2022
She has also reported the incident to the PSNI and called on Mervyn Gibson, the Grand Secretary of the Orange Order, to take action.
Sinn Féin MP for Fermanagh/South Tyrone, Michelle Gildernew, tweeted: “A beautiful young woman was murdered on honeymoon and this is how loyalists “celebrate” the Queen’s jubilee.”
Thank you to everyone who reported this to me tonight.
A beautiful young woman was murdered on honeymoon & this is how loyalists “celebrate” the Queen’s jubilee.
I have reported this to the PSNI & will be taking further action. @ChiefConPSNI https://t.co/SevHXbOlaA
— Michelle Gildernew (@gildernewm) June 2, 2022
Unionist politicians have also condemned the video, including Jeffrey Donaldson. The DUP leader called the video “vile” and said it is “plain wrong and is deeply hurtful to the family of Michaela McAreavey”.
Ulster Unionist Party leader Doug Beattie also labelled it “abhorrent, disgusting and shameful”, while party colleague Robbie Butler MLA said he could “only imagine what this does to her poor family”.
TUV leader Jim Allister added: “The video glorying in the murder of Michaela McAreavey is beyond disgusting, bringing shame and dishonour on all associated with such loathsome behaviour.”
Jonathan Buckley from the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) said it was "wrong on so many levels".
"I remember the utter devastation felt by all following the tragic killing of Michaela McAreavey. My thoughts are with the McAreavey and Harte family circles and I condemn this vile video," he tweeted.
The loyalist campaigner Jamie Bryson also described the footage as "vile". Writing on Twitter he said: "The disgraceful video- mocking the death of a young woman- doing the rounds does not represent unionism or loyalism."
The police undoubtedly have the video of this hateful event and should pursue the matter. I assume the Orange Order has it and should also pursue those involved. The hate it displays doesn’t need to be circulated further. https://t.co/0eBbwH4r5B
— Tony Gallagher (@tgeducation) June 3, 2022