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Ex-Down GAA star cautioned for shouting abuse at loyalist band

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Police probe: Greg McCartan

Police probe: Greg McCartan

�INPHO/Gerry McManus

Police probe: Greg McCartan

A former GAA star who was investigated by the PSNI for a possible hate crime after shouting abuse at a loyalist band has been given a police caution, it has emerged.

Greg McCartan, who was an All-Star for Down, was captured on a video, later posted on social media, appearing to shout "up the Ra" and "black b******s" at Pride of the Hill flute band during a parade in Newcastle last September.

In a tweet posted at the time which referenced the video, Mr McCartan said: "So much culture on show tonight throughout Ireland. Glad I played my part."

In a subsequent tweet in response to a fellow Twitter user, asking if he was the person heard chanting, he posted: "Lolz yup."

The original video was then deleted and before deactivating his Twitter account, Mr McCartan posted an apology to those who took offence at his tweet. He wrote: "Lesson learned should never have happened. Alcohol no excuse."

Police yesterday issued a statement confirming that a 49-old-man interviewed as part of its investigation had received a police caution for "doing a provocative act".

A PSNI spokesperson explained the move had been made on recommendation of the Public Prosecution Service (PPS).

However, DUP MLA Jim Wells has described the decision as "appalling", and one which will "cause anger throughout the unionist community in south Down".

"It was only the discipline and restraint shown by the band and the parade marshals that prevented his behaviour leading to a major incident," he said.

Mr Wells said he is seeking a meeting with the PSNI and PPS to discuss the matter further.

In a statement the PPS said that in this case a police caution was considered the "most appropriate" decision, adding it will remain on an individual's criminal record for five years. "We are happy to engage with Mr Wells to explain our decision in more detail," the statement added.

Belfast Telegraph