McClean quits Twitter over death threats

Published Tuesday, 08 May 2012
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Derry-born footballer James McClean has closed his account on social networking site Twitter, after receiving a torrent of abuse - including death threats - over his selection for the Republic of Ireland's Euro 2012 squad.

The 23-year-old had previously told his 50,000 followers that he "couldn't be happier to have been called up to represent my country".

While many of the responses congratulated McClean on making the team, some were much more menacing.

One 16-year-old schoolboy sent the Sunderland winger a message saying: "u deserve to be shot for that comment!! Your playing for Ireland and not the country you were born in (NI)".

The tweet has since been deleted, along with a few from other users.

The PSNI has said it doesn't discuss an individual's personal security, but a spokesman added that a formal complaint had not been received at this stage from McClean by police in Northern Ireland or in England.

McClean - who was capped seven times for Northern Ireland at Under-21s level, before being capped once at senior level for the Republic - initially hit back at his critics, but has since cancelled his Twitter account.

Foyle MLA Pat Ramsey has branded the threats "wrong and unfair".

He added: "One can certainly understand it, when they're going to European Championships, why someone would decide to opt for the Republic.

"It's a player's choice where they wish to go. People should honour and accept and respect that decision."

In February, McClean was praised by Republic boss Giovanni Tarpattoni, who said: "We regard him highly", while in March, he was rewarded for his efforts with club side Sunderland with a new three-year contract.

Later this month, the Republic will host Bosnia and Herzegovina in an international friendly and will go on to meet Hungary on 4 June in Budapest.

© UTV News
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46 Comments
Ulysses32 in Belfast wrote (708 days ago):
Michael H, not to say you would make such a comment AFTER being threatened to be shot. Get over yourself. Call yourself British if you want, your entitled to. Gues what though, others are entitled to call themselves Irish, hold an Irish passport, play for an Irish football team and cross a mystical border without the necessity of producing a passport. How do you like those apples? You don't? Mope away, mope away......Do you know that the PGA has seven regions with only one covering the island of Ireland? Do you want to have go at them as well? Just because it is in Ireland means that it is Irish.
n.i.nemesis in derry wrote (708 days ago):
rimmy. It's ironic isn't it, that if the claims of NI being a country were true, it wouldn't be in the UK as you say. The only reason it's got a football team is the four uk associations predate FIFA so this concession is allowed. But there are moves in FIFA to end it so that one state has only one membership, so in England the FA would become the UK 'country Ironic that the IFA claims it only wants FIFA to observe it's own rules. If FIFA did that, IFA and NI would be no more and good riddance.
michael in belfast wrote (709 days ago):
not a great footy supporter, but i do watch the euro's, world cup etc. im still confused as to whats wrong with an ireland team playing against the rest of the world. why seperate all our best players? somewhere along the line we decided that the best rugby players would represent all of us, and we all know what happened there. ppl who never even had an interest in the sport were suddenly arguing the merits of munster having too many internationals against our ulster team. yes EVERYONE from ulster! why cant this happen with football so we can all have something to cheer
Boru in Ireland wrote (709 days ago):
France - Nationality, French; Scotland - Nationality, Scottish; England - Nationality, English; Ireland - Nationality, Irish; Wales - Nationality, Welsh.
Wee Grimmy in West Belfast wrote (709 days ago):
Nice one Michael H. Perhaps you could explain how Ireland has two countries on the island when the state of N.I. is not in Britain? What's the two countries on the island? (or perhaps your nationality is United Kingdomish?)Also, regarding the nationality doesn't it also mean that as someone from Gibralar holds the same nationality as someone from Britain then they are ellegible to play for Scotland, Wales or England? Likewise with a footballer from Jersey, Geurnsey or the Isle of Man which "national" team can they play for. Well done young McClean, an Irishman born and bred and playing for the team he considers to be his national side.
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CHRIS BRENNAN
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