An Irish travel agency has stopped selling trips to Mauritius … out of solidarity with the McAreavey and Harte families.
Caroline Davies, who owns Liberty Travel in Letterkenny, Co. Donegal, said she was disgusted after details emerged during the trial of how authorities treated Mr McAreavey in the aftermath of his wife’s death.
“They locked him in a room and told him he would find another wife. I thought that was appalling,” said Ms Davies.
“So I took the decision not to sell Mauritius as a mark of solidarity to the family.”
The travel shop owner said Mauritius has divided opinion among holidaymakers.
“I’ve had some people come in since the murder saying ‘I hope you’re not selling Mauritius’, but then others have told me what happened wouldn’t put them off going,” she said.
Ms Davies added that she would not sell a holiday if it is not somewhere she would be willing to travel to herself.
Earlier shocked Foreign Affairs Minister and Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore said that the Government is to lodge a strong protest with the Mauritius government over the publication of photos of murdered Michaela McAreavey.
The Government also wants to know what the Mauritius authorities are doing to investigate the murder.
He said he was shocked by the publication and it could not be considered acceptable in any circumstances.
Mr Gilmore said he had spoken with John McAreavey and believed he was satisfied with the Government’s response.
The murdered honeymooner’s family reacted with horror yesterday when it emerged that a Sunday paper had published a disturbing picture of her lifeless body across its front page.
Inside there were more pictures, including close-ups of marks on Michaela’s neck.
A spokesman for the McAreavey and Harte families said: “They are in shock as to how far this has gone.” Defence lawyers for the two hotel workers cleared of her murder last week insisted the images had not been leaked by their camp.
But the Mauritian police and the newspaper that published the photos — the Mauritian ‘Sunday Times’ — remained silent on the controversy.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny branded the publication “a gross affront to human dignity”.
The Mauritian ‘Sunday Times’, a paper with no connection to any British or Irish company, used a large picture of Michaela’s body in what they dubbed a front-page “picture exclusive”.
Inside there was a full page of more images, including close-ups of Michaela’s scratched and bruised neck.
The black-and-white crime scene pictures included:
- An almost full-length image of Michaela, her eyes closed, wearing her bikini and a skirt.
- A close-up of the injuries on her neck.
- A photograph of the empty bathtub where she was found.
- A photograph showing the disarray in the McAreaveys’ hotel room.
Bizarrely, while her bikini top is blacked out on the inside pages, there is no effort to disguise her injuries, and the same picture on the front page is not blacked out.
The distressing images are accompanied by a column entitled: ‘Opinion — At large, Michaela I feel sorry for you’.