29/06/2011

McCrea Criticised Over GAA Taunt

DUP MLA Ian McCrea has come under fire for his comments on the latest GAA results, saying he hoped the celebrations would be "kept out of mid-ulster".

The Londonderry MLA made a number of negative comments on social networking site Twitter about the GAA team based in his constituency, and engaged in arguments with fellow tweeters.

On his Twitter feed yesterday, the minister said: "Great to see Tyrone beat in the Ulster semi's today hope Donegal beat Londonderry in the final to keep the celebrations out of Mid Ulster."

After being criticised by a fellow Tweeter with the handle Damien M, Mr Mcrea responded: "As thousands of pounds of public money has been wasted on receptions for Tyrone I think I have a right to express my view"

Alliance Culture, Arts and Leisure Spokesperson Anna Lo MLA condemned Mr McCrea's comments saying his remarks were "pathetic" and displayed his views on a shared future.

Anna Lo MLA said: "These were sad and pathetic comments from Ian McCrea.

"These cheap comments show Ian McCrea's opinion in relation to a shared future. He should be working to improve community relations instead of making remarks like this. Our society is moving forward and these comments are divisive."

Soon after, Mr McCrea moved away from the fray, saying he had met with the Northern Ireland Netball Open Squad before they headed of to play in the World Championships in Singapore.

The matter was then raisen in the Stormont Assembly on Tuesday after Mr McCrea asked Sinn Féin's John O'Dowd what steps his department had taken to ensure a cross-community education system in Northern Ireland.

The question prompted a response alluding to the earlier Twitter comments, with Mr O'Dowd adding: "If we are serious about shared futures and shared societies, I would suggest that measured words and comments from politicians would also assist in that."

(DW/GK)

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