Orange Order urged to do more on Michaela McAreavey song

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The Orange Order have been asked to do more to show their “disgust and revulsion” at a song mocking the murder of Michaela McAreavey.

As a sign of sincerity, the order was also encouraged to donate to the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust, which brings home the remains of those who died overseas.

SDLP Newry and Armagh MLA Justin McNulty made the call days after footage emerged of a group of people singing a song mocking the 2011 murder of Ms McAreavey at a rally at Dundonald Orange Hall.

It came as a number of other Co Derry businesses released statements about employees who were recognized on the video.

They included Kenny’s Convenience Stores, with stores in Coleraine, Magherafelt, Garvagh, Kilrea, Randalstown and Ballymena under the Spar brand, which said it made a member of staff redundant.

Mr McNulty, a former All-Ireland winner with Armagh, has known Michaela’s father, former Tyrone manager Mickey Harte, for years through their association with the GAA.

The shocking footage mocking the young woman’s murder is believed to have been captured on the same day Orangemen gathered in Belfast for a parade to mark the centenary of the partition of Ireland in 1921.

Three men have since resigned from the Orange Order after being identified in the clip, which has been posted online.

The trio apologized for their involvement but also said they were the subject of a “public witch hunt”.

The Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland called the footage “utterly abhorrent”.

Last night Mr McNulty described the callous chanting as ‘a vile bigotry song’.

“I welcome the outright condemnation of this disgusting and unfathomable incident expressed by the Orange Order,” he said.

“I recognize that the great majority of members of the Orange Order are decent people who have sympathy for the Harte and McAreavey families.”

However, he said the order needed to go further.

“There must now be a recognizable admission of responsibility,” he said.

“The Orange Order must demonstrate the courage of its conviction and it must now show by deeds, not just words, that it is sincere in its expression of disgust and revulsion, and that it wants to address it.

“I therefore ask the Orange Order to make a voluntary contribution to the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust.”

Mr McNulty said such a gesture would “serve to heal wounds and show ordinary people in our community that there is a generosity of spirit in the Orange Order that was not evident through this vile demonstration last week”.

The Orange Order has been contacted.

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