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Tyrone publican slams sectarian chanting in Derg Arms beer garden


A screen grab from the video.

A screen grab from the video.

A screen grab from the video.

A leading voice in the hospitality sector has said she is appalled after a video emerged of sectarian chanting in the beer garden of her pub in Castlederg, Co Tyrone.

The brief clip on social media, which has been seen by the Belfast Telegraph, shows a densely-packed beer garden at the Derg Arms as rowdy patrons, some clearly intoxicated, sing football anthem Sweet Caroline interspersed with chants of “F*** the Pope”.

None of the revellers in the video were wearing masks.

And there was little sign of any social distancing measures being observed as patrons stood on tables and punched the air as they sang the offensive lyrics. Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph yesterday, Derg Arms owner Olga Walls, a former chairperson of Hospitality Ulster, said: “We condemn this sort of behaviour outright and were appalled when we were made aware of the short clip.

“We’ll be doing all we can to make sure this isn’t repeated.”

The incident happened on July 12.

However, the video only emerged at the weekend.

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The pub closed last Friday after a staff member tested positive for Covid-19.

A message on its social media channel said: “Unfortunately a member of staff has tested positive so following government guidelines, we will be closed today for a deep clean.

"We will be back open tomorrow as usual.”

It reopened again on Saturday.

In a Facebook post, the pub said it was was "family run business and during this last year have had so many up and downs … we have done and followed everything that we have been told to do”.

In the post the business, which also offers accommodation, pleaded with customers to observe all current anti-Covid transmission measures.

It added: “Our priority is to keep our staff, customers and ourselves safe, with high cases in the town.”

The pub’s website describes it as “the perfect place to unwind”.

It was established in 1928 and has won a number of awards.

This includes the Pubs of Ulster accolade for best family friendly pub. It was also a finalist for best pub food.

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