'I'm proud to be Irish' - James McClean opens up about coping with years of horrific racist abuse
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'I'm proud to be Irish' - James McClean opens up about coping with years of horrific racist abuse

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND star James McClean has opened up about years of racist and sectarian abuse he's suffered throughout his career.

The Derry native has been extremely vocal of late about the treatment he receives online and from the stands, and has called out the hypocrisy with which racial abuse against him is treated, compared with the abuse black colleagues of his receive for example.

McClean recently revealed a number of vile messages that had been sent to him and his family by online trolls, including one where someone threatened to burn his house down.

This, he said, was the final straw for he and his wife Erin, who has unfortunately been dragged into the mess.

She released a statement saying that abuse has been "part of their daily lives for the last nine years" and that threats to the couple's children finally prompted them to go public.

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"I've had a lot of messages recently from ex-players, players still playing and the general public saying they've been subjected to Irish abuse in the UK on a daily basis and don't speak up," McClean said.

"This is not just about me, it's about them. We should be proud to be Irish and not be abused for it - things like being called a Paddy, a Fenian, a leprechaun, a pikey.

"It's not acceptable, and we're not going to accept it any more. I want those people to challenge that.

"We are not inferior and shouldn't be treated like we're inferior," he stressed.

"It's time to stand up and be proud of who you are and no accept being seen as second class.

"I think we as Irish people, we've been guilty because we've allowed it to happen. We're not going to accept it no more.

"I couldn't be more proud of being Irish and I take that everywhere with me."

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Earlier this week, Celtic boss Neil Lennon said the abuse levelled at McClean was "absolutely scandalous," while DUP MP Gregory Campbell demanded an end to threats and sectarian insults.