McDonald's in Portugal has apologised for advertising a Halloween-themed ice cream with the slogan 'Sundae Bloody Sundae’.

The fast food outlet was criticised after photos of the advertisement, which appeared to reference U2's song 'Sunday Bloody Sunday’, circulated online.

The chain said the campaign has been pulled from restaurants in Portugal.

It added: "The campaign was intended as a celebration of Halloween, not as an insensitive reference to any historical event or to upset or insult anyone in any way."

The campaign drew criticism as it seemed to show little recognition of the sensitivities around the term 'Bloody Sunday' in Irish history.

The first Bloody Sunday in Ireland took place on Sunday 31 August 1913.

During the Lockout in Dublin, several hundred people were injured after a crowd gathered in O'Connell Street were baton-charged by police.

During the War of Independence in November 1920, some 14 people were killed after police opened fire on a crowd at a match in Croke Park. This too became known as Bloody Sunday.

On 30 January 1972, in one of the most significant events of the Troubles, 14 civilians attending a march in Derry were killed by British soldiers, an event that is described in the lyrics of U2's song 'Sunday Bloody Sunday'.

A spokesperson for McDonald's Portugal said "we sincerely apologise for any offence or distress this may have caused".

The company said all promotional material had been removed from the restaurants.