Revealed: The Orange Hall at centre of sick Michaela McAreavey song controversy

The fall-out continued yesterday as a local council said it was investigating after it was claimed one of their employees was involved

Dundonald Orange Hall

Steven Moore

This is the Orange Hall where loyalists belted out the horrific song mocking the murder of bride Michaela McAreavey.

Dundonald Orange Hall hosted a pre-march party last Saturday before thousands of loyalists marched from Stormont to Belfast city centre.

The fall-out from the embarrassing scenes continued yesterday as a local council said it was investigating after it was claimed one of their employees was involved.

So far Dundonald Orange Hall have yet to make a comment on the shocking events that took place in their hall and, after being asked to comment, they closed their public Facebook page down.

But we can reveal Dundonald Orange Hall is where Orangemen and bandsmen gathered to get refreshments before they made the long walk into town.

People are filmed singing the sick song inside the building

And it's where several loyalists were caught on video singing a song mocking the murder of Co Tyrone teacher Michaela McAreavey.

The video was posted live by loyalist Andrew McDade who has since apologised for his involvement.

It was taken at 12.18pm and loyalists can be seen relaxing and drinking cans of beer in preparation for the five-mile march into Belfast.

We contacted Dundonald Orange Hall through a contact email on their Facebook page called Dundonald Orange Pages which, up until two days ago, regularly promoted loyalist community events involving their own Orange lodge.

But shortly after we asked them to comment about the incident their Facebook page was removed.

Left to right: Andrew McDade and John Bell

Last night a spokesperson for Dundonald Orange Hall said they couldn't comment on the incident and directed us to the Grand Orange Lodge.

On the Friday before the centenary march event, they took to their social media page and welcomed loyalists from other parts of the country to their hall for the celebrations.

They posted on May 27: "Tomorrow we're looking forward to welcoming Brethren from all over Northern Ireland to our hall before the parade leaves Stormont.

"For those of you arriving at Stormont and may not know this a 20 minute dander takes you into Dundonald village where you can get something to eat or drink in the shops, cafes and bars. Hope everyone taking part or spectating has an enjoyable day."

Hundreds of Orangemen and bandsmen availed of Dundonald's hospitality and pictures show dozens spilling outside onto the road, with the vast majority of those there throughout the day having no part in the shameful scenes that followed.

A close-up of one of the singers

Meanwhile some of those loyalists prominent in leading the disgusting song - mocking the murder of the daughter of GAA manager Mickey Harte in Mauritius - have yet to come forward to apologise.

Two younger men who are clearly identifiable who are standing up have yet to come forward to explain their actions.

One of the men, wearing a white polo neck T-shirt with a large tattoo on his right arm, is seen in the video leading the way.

Some of those have faced up to their shame and issued apologies.

A statement issued on Friday on behalf of John Bell and Andrew McDade said the pair wished to "apologise for the vile chant".

On Friday night Portadown FC said an "individual with links to the club" was identified in the video and added: "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."

Linfield Football Club moved to sack a club volunteer allegedly involved in the video. The club confirmed that it had contacted a girls' academy coach in relation to the video.

The club said that his "voluntary association with the club has been terminated with immediate effect".

Construction supplies company Norman Emerson Group also issued a statement to say it was looking into the alleged involvement of an employee and said that a "full and thorough internal investigation" was under way.

And the Northern Ireland Fire Service condemned the sick song and clarified that one of the people involved hadn't worked for them for a number of years.

But Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council said it had launched an investigation into one of its employees.

They said it was aware of "disturbing social media content allegedly involving a council employee".

It added: "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.

"As an equal opportunities employer, such behaviour does not represent the values of our organisation.

"We serve all members of the community with respect and dignity, and utterly condemn this type of defamatory and sectarian behaviour. We would like to express our sincere sympathy to the McAreavey and Harte families at this distressing time."


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