Colum Eastwood warns 'words can have dangerous consequences' after vandals attack Alliance Party and DUP offices

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The SDLP leader Colum Eastwood has expressed solidarity with politicians in North Down and Belfast whose offices were attacked by vandals on Monday night.

Among those targeted was the North Down Alliance MP Stephen Farry whose Bangor office was daubed with the slogan 'RIP GFA'.

The office of the DUP Strangford MP Jim Shannon in Newtownards, also suffered criminal damage.

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Mr. Eastwood, speaking in the British House of Commons this afternoon, said: "I express my solidarity with the politicians in Northern Ireland—including, of course, the hon. Members for North Down (Stephen Farry) and for Strangford (Jim Shannon)—whose offices were attacked last night.

Graffiti daubed on Stephen Farry's office in Bangor.Graffiti daubed on Stephen Farry's office in Bangor.
Graffiti daubed on Stephen Farry's office in Bangor.

"In Northern Ireland, words can have very dangerous consequences."

The Foyle MP asked the British Cabinet Secretary Michael Gove if he agreed that it is "now time for all political leaders to dial down the rhetoric and deal with the actual issues that exist around the protocol, while of course recognising that the protocol is a direct consequence of Britain’s leaving the customs union and single market?"

Mr. Gove replied: "I am grateful for the hon. Gentleman’s expressions of solidarity and I agree with him: politicians and civil leaders from all parties and all parts of society should not have to face that sort of despicable behaviour.

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"He is also right that it is incumbent on us all to seek calmly and purposefully to resolve the issues on the ground. I am grateful to all the parties in the Northern Ireland Executive, and to the First Minister in particular, for the calm and purposeful way in which they have addressed the challenges that we share."