Chief Constable responds to critics over NI Women’s football tweet

Simon Byrne has explained why he deleted a Twitter message posted on Wednesday night, congratulating one of his officers for her role in the Northern Ireland football team’s triumph over Ukraine.

Thursday, 15th April 2021, 10:59 am
Updated Thursday, 15th April 2021, 12:07 pm

In response to the NI Women sealing qualification for the Euro 2022 finals with a 2-0 win at Seaview on Tuesday, the PSNI’s top officer tweeted: “Huge congratulations to @NorthernIreland and Captain @PSNIArdsDown Constable Ashley Hutton on qualifying for the Euro 2022 Championship.

“The @PoliceServiceNI is very proud of Ashley, an outstanding role model.”

Tuesday’s hard fought victory followed a first leg 2-1 win in Ukraine last week, giving Northern Ireland an impressive 4-1 win on aggregate.

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Chief Constable Simon Byrne's tweet on Wednesday

The message immediately attracted a number of scathing comments from people who assumed Mr Byrne had posted the message without thinking of the potential security implications for one of his officers.

However, a PSNI spokesman told the News Letter on Thursday that the message was posted with the “full agreement” of Ms Hutton.

The spokesman said: “The Chief Constable tweeted congratulations to one of his officers yesterday (Wednesday 14 April) following the qualification of the Northern Ireland Women’s Football Team.

“The tweet was posted with the full agreement of the officer.

PSNI Chief Constable Simon Byrne. Photo: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

“Unfortunately, due to the negative comments and responses, the tweet was later removed.”

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Ashley Hutton (front right) ahead of Northern Ireland's Women Euro 2022 match against Ukraine on Tuesday. Photo: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

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