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Orangemen at the centre of Michaela song controversy set to rejoin organisation claims source

McDade and Bell are believed to have penned a personal letter to the McAreavey and Harte families
Andrew McDade

Andrew McDade

John Bell

John Bell

Richard Sullivan

Disgraced Orangemen at the centre of the Michaela McAreavey song controversy are set to rejoin the organisation,a source has claimed.

Three members of the loyal order tendered their resignations in the wake of controversial footage showing them singing a vile song mocking Michaela's murder.

The Sunday World understands the intention is for the men to be quietly readmitted to the organisation once the furore surrounding the video dies down.

The Orange Order has announced an internal investigation into the incident but the men, including Andrew McDade and John Bell, have headed off the prospect of disciplinary action by standing down from their lodge.

It is thought the outcome of the Order's investigation will result in guidelines about the singing of potentially offensive songs and also prohibiting the filming of events in Orange halls and sharing the footage on social media.

John Bell

John Bell

Last week the Sunday World revealed there was no appetite to hand out punishments to McDade, Bell and a third man who has also resigned.

It is understood the plan to resign their membership was taken last weekend within hours of the footage going viral.

McDade and Bell issued an apology and are believed to have followed it up with a personal letter to the McAreavey and Harte families.

The men found themselves in the eye of a storm after they were filmed chanting a stomach-churning song mocking Michaela's death.

But despite immediate condemnation from the loyal order and the pledge of an internal investigation, the Sunday World revealed there was no intention to punish any of those involved.

In the immediate aftermath of the incident senior figures in the men's lodge indicated they had no intention of "hanging our own out to dry".

"They will not be allowed to be isolated or treated like pariahs," an Orange Order source told us.

"All are deeply respected members of the loyal orders and loyalist community and this will be viewed for what it is, a serious error of judgement."

It is understood the men could be back in the fold before this year's Twelfth celebrations.

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