A Belfast DUP councillor has apologised for comments made online in support of an attack on a republican commemoration in Tyrone and an imaginary account of the killing of senior Sinn Fein representatives including Martin McGuinness and Martina Anderson.
DUP Councillor Ruth Patterson, a former deputy Lord Mayor of Belfast, caused controversy when she made comments on a post on a social networking site describing a massacre at this weekend’s republican volunteers commemoration parade in Castlederg in which loyalist paramilitaries opened fire on marchers using machine guns, rocket launchers and grenades.
The poster made clear that the account was fictional but asked how loyalists would be judged if such an attack was carried out for real.
Colr. Patterson responded: “Who cares how we would be judged. We would have done a great service to Northern Ireland and the world in getting rid of these evil, devious scum like individuals.”
She went on to write: “Would I shed a tear, NO. Would I lose a night’s sleep, No. Would I really worry about what anyone else thought, No.”
The outspoken DUP colr. apologised for her remarks after West Tyrone Sinn Féin MLA Barry McElduff, who was mentioned in the original post, described her remarks as “irresponsible and highly dangerous.”
Mr McElduff said: “This is a shocking comment from an elected representative who is endorsing the slaughter of people attending the parade by machine-guns, rocket-launchers and grenades. This type of talk is totally irresponsible and highly dangerous. Is Ruth Patterson advocating a Michael Stone style attack on a peaceful parade? As has been shown in the past, comments made by political representatives and others can not only inflame a situation but actually motivate people to act on their words. Belfast City Council, of which Ruth Patterson is a member, should be looking at this and acting accordingly.
“Ruth Patterson has, by these comments and recent utterances, shown that she has no interest in building a peaceful future but is more interested in stirring hatred, division and whipping up hysteria.”
In her apology, colr. Patterson said her comments were “completely incompatible with the policies of the Democratic Unionist Party and what is expected of me as an elected representative. I recognise that my careless comments fall short of the standards expected of anyone holding a responsible post. I deeply and sincerely apologise.”