Erin McClean calls for photo ID for social media accounts after husband's abuse

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Erin Mcclean Calls For Photo Id For Social Media Accounts After Husband's Abuse Erin Mcclean Calls For Photo Id For Social Media Accounts After Husband's Abuse
Erin McClean wife of James McClean (Photo by Dave Winter/Icon Sport via Getty Images)
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Vivienne Clarke

Erin McClean, wife of Republic of Ireland soccer player James McLean, has called on social media platforms to insist on photo identification before allowing accounts to be set up, so abuse can be reported.

“Something should be in place, if photo ID was needed to verify an account, then if something was said you can report it and the social media platform could ban them,” she told RTÉ radio’s Today with Claire Byrne show.

Ms McClean spoke about the abuse the family has experienced because of her husband’s stance on not wearing the poppy emblem.

She said her husband was not anti-British and that she loved her friends and neighbours who were English.Later in the same programme James McLean said he felt guilty about the effect the abuse had on his family.

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He had not received any support from the anti-racism charity in the UK ‘Kick It Out’. There was no point in them condemning the abuse just once while the abuse was going on all the time.

Ms McClean said that it was always at the back of her mind that someone would take the abuse too far, and she feared for her husband’s safety and that her oldest child might suffer from comments at school.

She acknowledged that they had “kind of got used to it, but we shouldn’t have to. I don’t want others to have to go through what we have for the past 10 years.”

The family had suffered comments while out shopping, usually when someone had passed by, “it’s never straight to your face. It’s very hard not to react.”

Her husband had been talking for years about the abuse they experienced “but he was not listened to,” she said.

Home security

The abuse had been constant over the years, but she was now concerned that it would impact on her children, in particular her seven year old who was now at school. “We tell her that there are other teams that don’t like Daddy.”

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The family has security at their home and if they ever order items, they do so in her name or have it delivered to the club, but she was always concerned that someone would follow her husband home.

England was their home, the family was content there and their children were at school there, but eventually they would probably move home to Derry, she said. “I think it has crossed his mind (to retire), he has made mistakes and he has paid the price for them. He shouldn’t have to leave a job he loves.

“He doesn’t get the proper support he needs. The level of abuse is not being dealt with.”

The family does not live an extravagant lifestyle, she added, “we just want to make a life for them (their children).”

The abuse was now so frequent that they did not always report it, she said. On occasions in the past when they did complain, the platform had said there had not been a breach “and you end up giving up."

The stress does take its toll at times, she admitted, the hardest part was whenever threats mentioned their children. “We want to protect them.”

Both of their families live in Derry and were aware of some of the threats. “They do worry. James’ mammy is a big worrier. It’s hard for them not to be here.”

Ms McLean said that the FAI had come out with a statement of support “which is lovely, they have always looked after us.” She said she wanted people to understand her husband and his beliefs. “He’s not anti-British, lay off him.”

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