He was commenting after video footage emerged which appears to show members of the Coalisland Athletic football team singing pro-IRA lyrics on board a team bus following their victory in the Irish Junior Cup final today.
He said, “The footage in question appears to have been posted onto the team’s Facebook page but has been removed. It is a significant achievement for any team to win the Irish Junior Cup but this significantly tarnishes that achievement. The club should confirm the authenticity of this video, and where it stands on such behaviour. It isn’t acceptable behaviour by fans in the stands at a ground and it certainly isn’t acceptable for players on the team bus. There can be no place for such songs in sport.
The players on this team will not have been alive during the worst years of IRA terrorism and will not remember the realities of IRA terrorism. That does not provide an excuse however and the terrorism of the past is no more excusable than atrocities carried out today whether in Russia or elsewhere.
If we are to move Northern Ireland forward, there should be a united acceptance that such scenes are unacceptable. I know other local representatives including Michelle O’Neill have offered their congratulations to the team. I hope they will now also join with a call for the club to apologise for this behaviour and be clear that such scenes will not be repeated.”