Tyrone GAA’s IRA singing: MLA queries PSNI response

Tyrone manager Mickey Harte made a public apology after his players were filmed singing the pro-IRA songs on the team bus. INPHO/Bryan Keane
Tyrone manager Mickey Harte made a public apology after his players were filmed singing the pro-IRA songs on the team bus. INPHO/Bryan Keane

A UUP MLA is asking why prosecutions are under consideration against individuals wearing Northern Ireland football tops for singing anti-Catholic songs - but not against Tyrone GAA players for singing IRA lyrics.

Footage on social media in March showed three people in NI tops singing “We hate Catholics, we hate Roman Catholics” after Northern Ireland beat Belarus in a European qualifier. The PSNI confirmed it had forwarded a file to the Public Prosecution Service (PPS).

A PPS spokeswoman said: “The PPS has received a file from the PSNI in relation to three individuals investigated for potential offences of acts intending to or likely to stir up hatred or arouse fear contrary to article 9 of the Public Order (NI) Order 1987. This file is under consideration and a decision will issue in due course.”

But UUP MLA Rosemary Barton queried the police response to a video taken earlier this month on a Tyrone GAA bus where players sang the pro-IRA song ‘Come out ye Black and Tans’. The video also appeared to include someone shouting a sectarian insult.

Police confirmed to The Irish News they had decided “no offences have been detected” in the case. However, it emerged that someone on the bus accepted a fine over behaviour unrelated to the video, the Irish News reported.

“A male on the bus was spoken to and has been issued with a Penalty Notice for Disorder in relation to a public order offence,” PSNI Supt Mike Baird said.

Ms Barton said she will be seeking clarity in relation to the police treatment of the GAA case.

“Both of these incidents need to be treated in an equal manner ensuring that there has been equality for all,” Ms Barton added.