Loyalist in ‘vile’ video mocking murder of Michaela McAreavey has conviction for gun possession
– 12h ag
Ashamed loyalist who videoed a vile sectarian sing-song in an Orange Hall mocking the brutal murder of Michaela McAreavey has a conviction for possessing a firearm.
It has been revealed that Andrew McDade was given 100 hours community service for having the rifle without a certificate three years ago.
Details about the 50-year-old criminal’s conviction emerged as McDade revealed he would be quitting the Orange Order over the abhorrent recording.
The video was made at Dundonald Orange Hall in east Belfast last month where loyalists had gathered ahead of a parade to mark the centenary of the partition of the island and the foundation of the Northern state.
© Provided by Extra.ieThe 27-year-old Irish language teacher was the daughter of All-Ireland-winning former Tyrone football manager Mickey Harte. Pic: McAreavey Family Handout/PA Wire
McDade filmed events inside the hall where John Bell and Richard Beattie were caught on camera laughing during the song mocking the tragic bride, who was strangled on her honeymoon in Mauritius in 2011 just 12 days after her wedding.
The 27-year-old Irish language teacher was the daughter of All-Ireland-winning former Tyrone football manager Mickey Harte.
McDade, Bell and Beattie were members of an Orange Lodge in Portadown, Co. Armagh, who joined the parade from the grounds of Stormont to march to Belfast city centre on Saturday, May 28.
Bell – a former part-time retained fireman who was sacked by Belfast-based Linfield Football Club as a voluntary coach over the hate video – also confirmed he would be leaving the Orange Order.
The three Portadown-based loyalists are represented by the JWB Consultancy.
© Provided by Extra.ieA shamed loyalist who videoed a vile sectarian sing-song in an Orange Hall mocking the brutal murder of Michaela McAreavey has a conviction for possessing a firearm.
In a statement that was issued on behalf of McDade and Bell, JWB confirmed that both had resigned from the Orange Order.
‘They have apologised for their actions and did so without equivocation or mitigation,’ the statement said.
It continued: ‘There is no excusing the behaviour and the unionist and loyalist community have been united in absolute and complete condemnation.’
JWB also confirmed that Beattie has resigned from the Orange Order as well.
Beattie said: ‘Whilst neither I or any of my colleagues were singing the completely unacceptable song, we were present and did not stop it. That was wrong and accordingly, I echo the absolute and unequivocal apology.’
Portadown Football Club, of which Beattie was a sponsor, has kicked him out over his conduct. Beattie added: ‘I will also voluntarily and without prejudice be resigning my membership of the Orange Order.’
Footage from Dundonald Orange Hall showed Bell and Beattie, who are sitting opposite each other over a table, whooping with delight during the sickening song about the murder of Mrs McAreavey while on her honeymoon in Mauritius in 2011.
© Provided by Extra.ieMichaela and John McAreavey on their wedding day. Pic: PA
A source said: ‘At first the crowd in the hall were singing about the SAS killing of IRA members at Loughgall and Gibraltar.
‘They had been drinking heavily and then the McAreavey song started.
‘You can see from the video that a lot of the guys there didn’t know what it was about at first. But they caught on when the two younger fellas leading the song mentioned John McAreavey [Michaela’s widower], and they started laughing and clapping.’
McDade was living in Portadown with his fiancée when in January 2019 PSNI officers raided their home and uncovered a .303-calibre rifle hidden in the attic.
McDade was later convicted in court of possessing a firearm without a certificate.
Sentencing him to 100 hours of community service, district judge Bernie Kelly told McDade’s lawyer: ‘Northern Ireland and firearms – just a few years ago and your client would have been going to prison for this.’
The Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland said last Friday it had started an inquiry and ‘if any of those involved are found to be members of the institution, they will face disciplinary proceedings’.
© Provided by Extra.ieJohn McAreavey tweeted on Friday after the video appeared on social media: ‘Michaela was a vessel of love, courage and dignity. Hate can hurt, but never win.’ Pic: Charles Chan/PA Wire
John McAreavey tweeted on Friday after the video appeared on social media: ‘Michaela was a vessel of love, courage and dignity. Hate can hurt, but never win.’
The video provoked outrage from politicians across the North.
Sinn Féin vice-president Michelle O’Neill said: ‘Hate and sectarianism have no place in our society. People deserve better. Love over hate will always win out.’
Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader Jeffrey Donaldson described the video as ‘vile’.
‘It is plain wrong and is deeply hurtful to the family of Michaela McAreavey,’ he said.