Martina Anderson stands by cancer unit Twitter row

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A Derry MLA has told the north’s health minister to “catch himself on” over Altnagelvin’s cancer unit during a row that erupted on social media website Twitter.

The row broke out on Wednesday night on the popular micro blogging site - now increasingly used as a means of mass communication by the north’s politicians - between Sinn Fein MLA Martina Anderson and Michael McGimpsey after the minister ‘tweeted’ about how well he was received while canvassing on Belfast’s Sandy Row.

In response Ms Anderson, used her twitter account to tell him to “try walking about Foyle - then you would get the true measure of views held of you.”

In tit-for-tat tweets Mr McGimpsey replied that he remained committed to the cancer unit and wrote “work will continue when money becomes available.”

But the row escalated with the Derry MLA tweeting “Remain Committed! Catch yourself on. It will be the incoming Executive that will deliver the Cancer Unit not you, Michael Tory.”

She later told the minister the unit would go ahead regardless of which party takes the health portfolio after the May elections.

BBC’s Stephen Nolan interrupted the row with a tweet inviting both politicians to continue the discussion on his radio show.

Ms Anderson yesterday stood by her Tweets.

“There is still a very deep sense of anger in Derry over the disgraceful decision made a few weeks back.

“Stephen Nolan offered myself and the Health Minister to come on his show to debate the issue .

“I said I was ‘ready willing and able’ to take on Michael McGimpsey. When I did this Michael McGimpsey’s line of communication ended.”

The Sinn Fein MLA says should the minister not take up Nolan’s challenge “he can only be described as a political coward.”