Anger rises over images of Michaela McAreavey
THE GOVERNMENT is to formally complain to its Mauritian counterpart after a newspaper on the island yesterday published photographs of the murdered body of Michaela McAreavey.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny said a complaint “in the strongest possible” terms would be lodged after he learned of publication and how it had added to the anguish of the McAreavey and Harte families.
John McAreavey returned to Ireland at the weekend from Mauritius where on Thursday two former hotel workers were acquitted of the murder of his wife Michaela (27) – daughter of Tyrone football manager Mickey Harte – while the couple were on honeymoon in January 2011.
He and other members of the McAreavey and Harte families learned that black and white pictures from the hotel crime scene, including images of Ms McAreavey, were included in the Mauritian Sunday Times.
The newspaper, which has no connections to any British or Irish publication, carried a picture of Ms McAreavey, taken after she was murdered, on its front page. There were more pictures from the crime scene inside the edition which included images of Ms McAreavey’s injuries.
The McAreavey and Harte families issued a statement that publication of the pictures was “reprehensible and repugnant”.
The families said that as they came to terms with the trial result the publication was “not only insensitive to their grief but it marks another low in the treatment of John, the two families and the dignity of Michaela. The Mauritian authorities need now to match their words with actions and ensure that insensitive reporting . . . does not further exacerbate the violation of Michaela and the hurt to John.”
Mr Kenny said “there are issues of fundamental human rights in question in relation to this deeply upsetting matter”. The Taoiseach said publication of the images “can only add to the pain and suffering of the McAreavey and Harte families and our thoughts and sympathies are again with them”.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore said the Irish Ambassador to Mauritius Brendan McMahon, is currently in Ireland, and he will meet him this morning to discuss this matter and agree “how to bring our concerns to the attention of the authorities in Mauritius at the highest levels and in the most effective way possible”.
Dick Ng Sui Wa, the Mauritian lawyer for John McAreavey said he will take up the issue with the country’s Director of Public Prosecutions and commissioner of police. He called for an inquiry into how the newspaper got hold of them.
Former hotel cleaners Avinash Treebhoowoon (32) and Sandip Moneea (43), who were unanimously acquitted on Thursday of the murder, are due to speak at a press conference today.
Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said publication was “an outrageous abuse” that could not be justified.