Video: First Minister Arlene Foster attacks Derry Sun and Israel boycotts

The First Minister Arlene Foster has attacked Derry City and Strabane District Council over separate motions calling for a ban on the sale of The Sun newspaper by local newspapers and a boycott of Israeli goods.

DUP MLA Gary Middleton raised the boycotts at Stormont on Monday.

The Sun newspaper (Picture by Matt Mackey/Presseye.com)

The Sun newspaper (Picture by Matt Mackey/Presseye.com)

He asked Mrs Foster for the First Minister’s views “on the recent motion passed by the council in Londonderry and Strabane, which called on newsagents not to sell The Sun newspaper.”

“It is a very retrograde step when you try to boycott one paper or another. Many of us have been the subject of investigations and scrutiny by the press; that is what they do, and that is their job,” he said.

Mr Middleton also raised the Council’s support for a Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) campaign.

“I welcome the response from the First Minister and she has, in part, answered my supplementary. Will she give some assurance that she will do all she can in her Department to ensure that Londonderry and Strabane are well represented even if the council is focused on other areas?” asked Mr Middleton.

Mrs Foster replied: “I was alarmed to see the motion in relation to Israel that was put forward in that council as well, particularly at a time when Jews in Belfast — we are told this by the rabbi — are feeling very intimidated and under attack.

“The council should reflect on that. We have heard a lot from other parties in the Assembly about equality and non-discrimination and about making sure that everybody feels at home in Northern Ireland. What about the Jewish people?

“Do they not have a right to feel at home in Northern Ireland as well? They are very welcome and they are a very key part of the community here in Northern Ireland.”

Last week a spokesperson for The Sun newspaper said: “We are astonished that in Derry - a city that has prided itself on its association with civil liberties and free speech - some elected politicians that think it’s appropriate to push such extreme censorship on its citizens and retailers.”