Belfast Telegraph

'F*** the Pope' chants at Northern Ireland wedding not a crime, say police

A clip of footage from the wedding reception at the Loughshore Hotel
A clip of footage from the wedding reception at the Loughshore Hotel

Police have ended their investigation into an incident at a wedding reception in Carrickfergus where the bride and groom led their guests in chants of 'f*** the Pope and the IRA'.

Chief Inspector Michael Simpson said that police had closed their investigation after seeking legal advice.

A video of newlyweds Christopher 'Sid' Stevenson and Jennie Andrews singing along to Tina Turner's 'Simply the Best' at their reception in the Loughshore Hotel, Carrickfergus on Friday October 4 went viral on social media.

The song was once used as an anthem by Johnny Adair and his UDA C Company.

Chief Inspector Simpson told the Irish News that police had conducted a number of enquiries but that no offence was detected.

"Each and every incident we deal with is treated on its own merits," he said.

"The incident in Carrickfergus was investigated as a hate incident.

"Legal advice was sought as to whether any of the actions constituted a criminal offence. No offences relating to the incident were identified."

There was outrage on social media in reaction to the video, which showed the happy couple entering the hotel's reception room before breaking into the sectarian song while guests, including children, applauded from their tables at the celebration.

The video prompted the hotel's group operations director, Stephen Carson, to defend staff for not intervening.

A wedding at the Loughshore Hotel in Carrickfergus where the married couple sang f**k the Pope and the IRA to Tina Turners 'Simply the best'.
A wedding at the Loughshore Hotel in Carrickfergus where the married couple sang f**k the Pope and the IRA to Tina Turners 'Simply the best'.

"We are committed to providing the highest standards of customer service to all our guests irrespective of their race, colour, creed or religious beliefs," he said.

"The events that took place did so in a private room, hired by a couple to hold their wedding reception and had absolutely nothing to do with the owners, management or staff of the Belfast Loughshore Hotel.

"To the many people commenting 'why didn't the hotel manager step in and put a stop to it?' - my answer is simple - I would never ask or expect anyone who works with me to do something that I would not do myself. I would not be prepared to 'pull the plug' and risk what was a 90-second episode where no one was hurt becoming something much worse."

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