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.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

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.”

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our advertisers — and consequently the revenue we receive — we are more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription.

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

Subscribe to and enjoy unlimited access to the best Northern Ireland and UK news and information online and on our app. With a digital subscription, you can read more than 5 articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content.

Our journalism costs money and we rely on advertising, print and digital revenues to help to support them. By supporting us, we are able to support you in providing trusted, fact-checked content for this website.

Alistair Bushe