Larne FC have suspended player John Herron “with immediate effect” after a photo emerged of him wearing a top that appeared to display a pro-IRA slogan.
A picture shared on social media on Sunday showed the Larne midfielder in a T-shirt with the slogan: “Tiocfaidh ar la, sing up the RA, ooh ah up the RA”.
A club statement read: “For the duration of his suspension, John will not represent the club in matches at any level. An investigation into this incident is now underway.
“We have shown that we are an inclusive football club for everyone, which shows not only in words but also through our extensive work in the local community.
“There is no room for behavior that falls outside of this ethos and we expect members, players and anyone associated with the club to reflect these standards at all times.
“We will not comment further until the investigation is complete.”
UUP’s East Antrim MLA John Stewart said Herron should never play for the club again.
John Stewart said: “The Larne player pictured with a pro-IRA slogan on a shirt should never play for the club again.
“All Irish League clubs in Northern Ireland are community-based, including our local sides Larne FC and Carrick Rangers FC.
“The teams are made up of people from different backgrounds and different political views. What people do in their free time and what their religious and political affiliations are is nobody’s business.
“However, there is a line that must never be crossed and shows support for any terrorist organization with any political background.”
He added: “This society comes out of three decades in which bombings and shootings were used to cause untold misery and suffering.
“Showing sympathy for an IRA terror campaign that has killed thousands of people is nonsensical.
“Both League of Ireland players in this photo – including the one who posted it on his social media account – need to examine their conscience and realize they have questions to answer. Just like their employers.
“The bottom line is that John Herron should never play for Larne FC again.”
DUP MLA Gordon Lyons also reacted to the picture.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/news/larne-fc-suspends-player-with-immediate-effect-for-wearing-top-that-appears-to-show-pro-ira-slogan-41913187.html John Herron: Larne FC suspends player ‘effective immediately’ for wearing top that appears to display pro-IRA slogan