A SENIOR Sinn Féin politician has been accused of disrespect after describing Northern Ireland as a “putrid little statelet”.
Alex Maskey MLA sparked a row on Twitter after he wrote: “Unfortunately it took more than the CRA (civil rights association) to secure rights in the putrid little statelet NI.”
After a barrage of criticism, Maskey added: "Looking back on how the northern 6 county state systemically discriminated against many of its citizens I am delighted how far we have come.
“Still a way to go to deliver fully on rights for all and that is our current task.”
Nevertheless, unionists have branded Mr Maskey’s remarks “offensive”, and accused the West Belfast MP of attempting to “justify terrorism”.
Unfortunately it took more than the CRA to secure rights in the putrid little statelet NI https://t.co/O6LI7CTKYt
— Alex Maskey (@AlexMaskeySF) February 5, 2018
DUP MP Emma Little-Pengelly demanded to know whether his comment represented the view of the Sinn Féin leadership.
“Alex Maskey’s description of Northern Ireland as a ‘putrid little statelet’ exemplifies a continued attitude of disrespect within Sinn Féin,” she said.
“This is all the more offensive, as the reference is within a tweet appearing to justify terrorism.
"Time and time again, we see Sinn Féin representatives demanding standards from others which they are unwilling to uphold themselves.
Looking back on how the northern 6 county state systemically discriminated against many of it’s citizens I am delighted how far we have came. Still a way to go to deliver fully on rights for all and that is our current task.
— Alex Maskey (@AlexMaskeySF) February 6, 2018
“We are entitled to know whether such comments are representative of Mary Lou McDonald’s view when she talks about 'unionist brothers and sisters'."
Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV) leader Jim Allister was also among those outraged, adding: “The many victims of IRA terrorism will be in no doubt as to what Maskey was referring to.”
The row is the latest controversy involving a Sinn Féin politician in recent weeks.
Barry McElduff resigned as West Tyrone MP last month after posting a picture of himself with a loaf of Kingsmill bread on the eve of the 42nd anniversary of the Kingsmill massacre.
Then on Saturday, policing spokesman Gerry Kelly MLA was forced to apologised after he was caught on camera removing a wheel clamp from his car in Belfast.