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McAreavey 'sick' over Liverpool's deal with Mauritius


John McAreavey with his late wife Michaela

John McAreavey with his late wife Michaela

John McAreavey with his late wife Michaela

The widower of Michaela McAreavey has said he feels "sick" after Liverpool Football Club announced a commercial link-up with Mauritius's tourism authority.

Michaela, the daughter of Tyrone GAA manager Mickey Harte, was killed at a luxury resort while on honeymoon on the Indian Ocean island in January 2011.

Two hotel workers, Avinash Treebhoowoon and Sandip Moneea, were arrested in connection with the death of the 27-year-old, who was found strangled in the bath of her hotel suite. Both men were acquitted after a trial the following year.

On Monday, Liverpool unveiled Mauritius as the club's new official tourism and economic development partner.

John McAreavey, posting on Twitter on Tuesday night, said the move was "really disappointing".

Tagging Liverpool and the Prime Minister of Mauritius Pravind Jugnauth in his post, Mr McAreavey said that Mr Jugnauth and Mauritius cannot guarantee the safety of tourists and that it has "complete disregard" for victims of murder.

He added: "I have huge respect for Liverpool Football Club as a club, for everything they stand for and how they have pursued justice for their own people for so long. Seeing this makes me feel sick."

Mr McAreavey was referring to the Hillsborough disaster in 1989 when 96 Liverpool fans were crushed to death during the club's FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest at Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough Stadium.

Mr McAreavey told BBC's Talkback that he will be writing an official letter to Liverpool to express his concerns.

It is understood that he will also contact the families of some of those who pursued justice for their loved ones who died at Hillsborough, asking for their support.

Speaking on the BBC's Talkback yesterday, Mr McAreavey said he hopes to speak to officials from Liverpool FC to find out if the club is aware what happened to Michaela and how his family's feelings have been "disregarded" by the Mauritian authorities since the tragedy.

"Whenever I saw this last night it actually made me feel sick in my stomach and I don't use that term lightly, it actually made me feel sick to my stomach," he said.

"It's because it's Liverpool Football Club, and I'm a Manchester United fan but I have always held Liverpool in such a high regard because of the fact that they have had this long and arduous road towards justice and the way that the people of Liverpool held themselves during that awful time [regarding the Hillsborough disaster].

"To me that was very inspiring, so to see them in a partnership arrangement where they're trying to encourage people to come to Mauritius, whilst the experience that I've had with the people of Mauritius at government level is just completely alien to me that they think they can just go into these partnerships and nothing is going to be said."

Liverpool announced on its website on Monday that it had launched a global partnership with the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority and the Economic Development Board Mauritius.

The three-year deal will see the country become the club's official tourism and economic development partner as it will benefit from a range of LFC digital, social media and marketing assets.

Prime Minister Jugnauth and Billy Hogan, managing director and chief commercial officer at Liverpool, were also pictured holding a club shirt with 'MAURITIUS 20' printed on the back in front of the Kop stand at Anfield.

Within the website's article, Prime Minister Jugnauth said: "Mauritius is proud to be an official partner of Liverpool Football Club, a global football elite and Premier League champions.

"We both share common values of dedication, determination and unity. This collaboration aims at strengthening and propelling Mauritius as a thriving economic powerhouse and a world-class tourism destination."

Liverpool FC was contacted for a response.

Belfast Telegraph