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Sinn Féin politician defends describing Northern Ireland as a 'putrid little statelet'

Alex Maskey has defended his comments, and condemned the ‘faux outrage’ they sparked from unionists.

Policing Board meeting Alex Maskey Source: PA Archive/PA Images

A SINN FÉIN member of the Northern Assembly is coming under fire for describing Northern Ireland as a ‘putrid little statelet’.

Maskey, a representative for west Belfast, made the initial comment via Twitter in response to an unrelated tweet from SDLP leader Colum Eastwood.

“Unfortunately it took more than the CRA (Civil Rights Association) to secure rights in the putrid little statelet NI,” he said.

The tweet has been excoriated by unionists who suggest it can only be interpreted as legitimising the IRA’s campaign of violence during The Troubles with regard to civil rights abuses in the North.

Last night, DUP MP at Westminster Emma Little Pengelly said that Maskey’s words exemplify “a continued attitude of disrespect within Sinn Fein”, and said unionists are “entitled to know whether such comments are representative of Mary Lou McDonald’s view when she talks about ‘unionist brothers and sisters’”.

Maskey’s tweet is a further headache for the Irish and British governments as they attempt to coax both sides of the Assembly into reforming a functioning executive in Northern Ireland.

The Assembly has been dissolved, leaving the North with no functioning government, since January of 2017.

Defending his tweet, Maskey said that “the northern state was a unionist-dominated apartheid state, founded on religious and civil discrimination and which denied citizens fundamental rights such as the right to vote” and condemned the “faux outrage” expressed by unionists at his comments.

“Peaceful civil rights demonstrators were beaten off the streets in an effort to crush the demands for civil and human rights, special powers were used to suppress protest, and the state forces played an active role in sectarian pogroms of the 1920s, 1930s and 1960s,” he said.

The Unionist party presided over all of that.

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