Northern Ireland

Assembly row over sectarian chanting

Basil McCrea
Image caption Basil McCrea has said the amendment could have prevented political chanting

An amendment to the justice bill to define sectarian chanting at sports events has been defeated at Stormont.

UUP MLA Basil McCrea said the definition was too broad and could have stopped fans expressing political views such as "no Tory cuts".

Justice Minister David Ford also lost his bid to make it an offence to be drunk or to have alcohol at events.

Opponents of the clauses have said they are difficult to enforce and better left to sports themselves to regulate.

Mr Ford claimed that the UUP members of the justice committee including Sir Reg Empey and David McNarry had failed to oppose the measures when they were previously discussed.

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