DUP MP Sammy Wilson has said he agrees with the sentiment of a mural equating Sinn Féin with the so-called Islamic State.
Mr Wilson made the comment to US broadcaster Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) yesterday.
In a news piece entitled ‘Brexit stirs up old divides in Northern Ireland’, the US broadcaster investigated whether Britain’s vote to leave the EU had inflamed sectarian tensions.
He was asked whether he agreed with the message of comparing the 2015 Paris terror attacks to IRA attacks.
The Belfast wall placard in question depicts the aftermath of IRA bombings in London next to pictures of the aftermath of the attacks in Paris.
A caption reads: "IRA - Sinn Féin - ISIS, no difference."
IRA - Sinn Fein - ISIS no difference mural on the shankill road Belfast pic.twitter.com/dZbbFj15rg
— DisillusionedPROD (@Ulster36th) February 26, 2017
When asked if he agreed, Mr Wilson told PBS there “has always been an affiliation between the Irish republicans and terrorist groups, especially in the Middle East.”
The interviewer then asked: "Do you agree with that placard equating Sinn Fein with ISIS?"
Mr Wilson replied: “I do. Yes, of course I do.”
Taking to Twitter, Sinn Féin politician Declan Kearney said: “You have to wonder does #DUP actually plan this stuff, or just let it go & then wait to see what happens!”
— Declan Kearney (@DeclanKearneySF) February 26, 2017
Sinn Féin junior minister Megan Fearon expressed similar sentiment, adding that it wasn’t the first time Mr Wilson had likened the party to ISIS.
Ms Fearon posted a quote from an Assembly meeting in 2015 in which Mr Wilson said that she reminded him of the “three wee girls who paddled their way through Heathrow to go and join IS in Syria.”
Mr Wilson made his latest remarks In a news piece entitled ‘Brexit stirs up old divides in Northern Ireland’, in which the US broadcaster investigated whether Britain’s vote to leave the EU had inflamed sectarian tensions.
— Megan Fearon (@mfearonsf) February 26, 2017
In a recent interview, former Good Friday Agreement talks chairman Senator George Mitchell expressed concern that Britain’s departure from the EU could weaken the relationship between the UK and Ireland.
Senator Mitchell told Sky News: "I think the UK being out of the European Union may reduce the prospect for further co-operation."
However, Sammy Wilson dismissed the notion that Brexit could have a substantial effect on the Northern Ireland peace process.
He said: "I'm fairly sure that at the end of this process we will be wondering 'What was all the fuss about?'"
— Mark Moloney ☭? (@MarkMDub) February 26, 2017
The DUP said they would not be commenting further on Mr Wilson's comments.