COVENTRY City has launched an investigation after player Gary Deegan sparked outrage on Twitter with a comment about the IRA.
The Sky Blues midfielder posted remarks on social networking website on Saturday.
The Dublin-born player publicly made the comments to his Scottish team mate James McPake, who has been called up for international duty by Northern Ireland.
McPake transferred his allegiance from Scotland courtesy of his grandmother, who was born in Northern Ireland.
“No matter where you go in the world Irish people are loved #bestcountryintheworld. Proud to be an Irish man.”
But some fans didn’t see the funny side and described him as a “disgrace” to the team.
Moz Baker tweeted to Gary: “I hope you never wear a Cov City shirt again.”
Shortly afterwards, Deegan’s Twitter account was deleted.
One fan tweeted: “As I am from Northern Ireland I can say from the bottom of my heart I hope he never plays for Cov again.
“He is from Dublin so has not lived through the horrors of Northern Ireland 70s to 90s.
“He isn’t qualified to make stupid comments.”
Another said: “Gary Deegan – you are in a privileged position to play pro footy and make stupid remarks regarding IRA. Disgrace.”
One fan posted: “Gary Deegan tweeting ‘Up the IRA’ The same terrorists that attempted to bomb the city whose team you play for and are paid by!”
Tim Fisher, chief executive of Coventry City, said: “We have received reports regarding a first team player and his use of Twitter and we are investigating the matter.
“We do take all matters of this nature very seriously.
“It underlines that footballers, like anyone else in the public eye, have to be extremely careful what they say on social networks, because their words are open for all to see and are open to scrutiny.”
The IRA targeted Coventry nine days after the outbreak of the Second World War when a bomb exploded in a carrier basket of a bicycle left outside a shop in Broadgate.
The explosion killed five people and injured more than 100, causing damage to several shops in the area.
Two IRA members and three others were put on trial for murder. Three were acquitted and two were convicted. In the 1974 an IRA member was killed while planting a bomb in Coventry city centre.
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