17 February 2021

Republic of Ireland footballer James McClean’s wife Erin reveals family’s fear over threats and abuse

17 February 2021

James McClean’s wife has revealed her family have received another abusive message as she admits to living in fear.

The Republic of Ireland international and his wife Erin have both spoken out in the last couple of days about the abuse their family have received over the past nine years, which have included death threats.

McClean shared a message from an Instagram user on Sunday, which read: “Don’t make me set your house on fire and burn everyone inside it,” while Erin also revealed details of how someone threatened to take a gun to a game.

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McClean’s club Stoke and the Football Association of Ireland have condemned the abuse, but Erin revealed it continued on Tuesday morning when a graphic message containing a violent threat was sent to her brother-in-law.

Erin described the message on RTE’s Today programme, then added: “I think over the years we have been getting it so constant that you just get used to it but I feel once the kids are involved and it is personal, they are the ones that blow my mind and take me aback.

“When he has away games I do panic, it’s not as bad as it used to be but this past year has got a little bit worse. I am not as panicky as I used to be but it is not nice to have to deal with.

“The majority are young lads who have access to the internet and are taking their free shots. There are a few times when you are wondering if these kids are going to grow up and are they going to regret it, but it only takes one threat from one person to always have it in the back of your mind.

“We have security here, but if James orders anything he will order it in my name or send it to the club, but he has been receiving letters again to the club, so I do worry.

“It is very easy for someone to follow him home from the club to the house so I am very wary of that all of the time.

“It is definitely hard but I think a lot of the threats are empty, I can handle things been sent to the club because it is not the house. We have to make sure things aren’t getting too out of hand. It is definitely hard. It is the kids we are trying to protect. We don’t want anything to come to them.”

When he has away games I do panic, it's not as bad as it used to be but this past year has got a little bit worse.

After his wife appeared on the Today with Claire Byrne show, McClean also rang the radio station to give his point of view.

The 31-year-old was staunch in his defence of an Instagram post last year where he was pictured wearing a balaclava with his children alongside a caption which read: “Today’s school lesson: history”.

He said: “First and foremost I say to those people if you think I sat there with my children and spoke to them about the troubles then I can’t help those people. I would never do that, it is madness. If people believe that conversation took place I can’t help those people.

“At the time it was supposed to be funny and a jibe back to the people who abuse me and a ‘two fingers’ back.

“I am portrayed as a person in the balaclava. It was an ill-advised little jibe back at them. It has given people justification to continue their abuse.

“This picture was in June or July, this has gone on day-in, day-out for nine years. Everyone has a breaking point. You put yourself in my shoes, live my life. At some point you are going to react and I reacted and at the time I didn’t think and it was out there and too late.

“These kids are 13, 14 and have that anger, it is mind-blowing. I don’t understand why they have that murder-hate for people they don’t know. It is baffling.

“It comes from being taught that at home or he has seen it in the media.”

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