Two men plead not guilty over song mocking Michaela McAreavey murder

Dillion Kelly, Steven Kane and Cian Jones face charges over footage of event in May 2022, which was streamed live on social media


Two men being prosecuted in connection with the singing of a song that contained offensive lyrics about the murder of Michaela McAreavey are to contest the charge against them, a court has heard.

A lawyer for a third man facing the same charge indicated he wanted to seek further clarification before entering a plea.

Dillion Kelly (22) of Edmund Court in Tobermore, Co Derry, Steven Kane (25) of Coolshinney Heights in Magherafelt, Co Derry and Cian Jones (23), of Craigadick Road in Maghera, Co Derry all face a single charge of using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour intending to stir up hatred or likely to stir up hatred.

The accused were not required to appear at Laganside Courthouse in person as the matter was being dealt with by way of summons.


The charges follow a police investigation into footage of singing at an event hosted in a venue in Dundonald, Co Down, in May 2022, which was streamed live on social media.

In the four-minute clip, filmed in an Orange Hall, several men are seen singing a song about the death of Ms McAreavey, the daughter of Gaelic football manager Mickey Harte.

The 27-year-old teacher was strangled in her room at the Legends Hotel in Mauritius on January 10th, 2011.

Ms McAreavey, who had married her husband John 10 days earlier, was attacked after she returned to her room alone and disturbed a burglary.

No one has been convicted of the murder.

The video was widely condemned across the political sphere in Northern Ireland and beyond.

The cases against the three men were mentioned for the first time at Belfast Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.

Lawyers for Mr Kane and Mr Kelly indicated they were entering pleas of not guilty.

A barrister representing Mr Jones asked for some time to take further instructions and clarify an issue with the directing officer.

The case was adjourned until December 13th to set a date for contest in the case of Mr Kane and Mr Kelly and for instructions in the case of Mr Jones.

Seven individuals had originally been reported to the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) in Northern Ireland over the incident.

The PPS recommended three prosecutions.

The other four case files were not proceeded with after it was concluded the evidence was not strong enough to support a reasonable prospect of a conviction.

– PA