Belfast Telegraph

PSNI interviews suspects over Northern Ireland fans' sectarian song video

Footage showed people in Northern Ireland shirts singing a sectarian song ahead of Sunday’s match
Footage showed people in Northern Ireland shirts singing a sectarian song ahead of Sunday’s match
Lauren Harte

By Lauren Harte

Police have quizzed a number of people as part of their investigation into footage of Northern Ireland supporters singing a sectarian song in a Belfast pub.

It follows the emergence last month of a 20-second video showing a number of people in Northern Ireland replica shirts singing "We hate Catholics, we hate Roman Catholics" to the tune of the song I Think We're Alone Now.

It was filmed in a bar on March 24 after Northern Ireland defeated Belarus 2-1 in a Euro 2020 qualifier at Windsor Park.

Castlederg-based Killen Rangers Football Club issued an apology over the vile singing and promised to take action if "deemed appropriate".

The PSNI yesterday confirmed that a number of people had voluntarily attended Musgrave police station to be interviewed about the video.

"A file is being prepared for submission to the Public Prosecution Service," police said.

The news comes as footage emerged on social media showing a man ringing up a business in the Castlederg area believed to be associated with one of the people in the video.

The caller can be heard making obscene threats and highly offensive sectarian remarks to a company representative, before saying "up the Ra" and hanging up.

The video was posted on a Facebook page and had been viewed more than 31,000 times before it was removed.

Earlier this week Ulster Unionist councillor Derek Hussey claimed family and friends of the people in the sectarian song video had faced "vile and evil trolling" on social media, while a local business had also been subjected to "threats and intimidation".

In a statement the PSNI said: "We do not discuss the security of individuals and no inference should be drawn from this.

"However, if we receive information that a person's life may be at risk, we will inform them accordingly. We never ignore anything which may put an individual at risk."

The IFA has said it takes a zero tolerance approach to sectarianism and it is working with the police to identify those involved.

Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill described those involved in the sectarian video as "mindless idiots" and said the behaviour was in no way representative of 99.9% of the team's supporters.

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