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Northern Ireland

Condemnation after woman asks Arlene Foster for selfie before chanting 'Up the Ra'

The IRA tried to kill Foster’s father and blow up her school bus

FORMER DUP LEADER Arlene Foster has said she was “very disappointed” after a guest at business awards ceremony on Saturday asked her for a selfie before proceeding to chant ‘up the Ra’ while standing beside her.

In the video, Foster can be seen smiling next to a woman who records the video on her phone and turning away in disgust when the woman says the words.

Politicians in Northern Ireland were quick to denounce the woman’s actions, particularly due to the harm the IRA has brought on Foster’s family.

When Foster was eight years old she witnessed her father, a part-time RUC reservist, come crawling into her family’s farmhouse on all fours covered in blood after being shot in the head by the IRA in a murder attempt.

He lived for another 32 years, passing away in 2011.

SDLP leader Coulm Eastword stated: “The IRA shot Arlene’s father. Why do this? Can we not disagree decently? I’m so sick of this nonsense. It’s serves no cause or community and just divide us further.”

In 1988, when Foster was 16, the IRA attempted to blow up her school bus in Lisnaskea Co Fermanagh in an effort to kill the bus driver, a part-time UDR soldier.

“I was actually sitting beside a friend’s sister and I was in the inside and she was in the aisle. She was very badly injured,” Foster told the Belfast Telegraph in 2015.

Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) assembly member Phillip Brett told BBC Radio Ulster’s Nolan Show he was “angry and disappointed” by the video.

“For Arlene and for victims across Northern Ireland who have suffered so much,” he said.

“For someone to think it appropriate to come up to them to chant in their face the name of the organisation that tried to murder her father, the name of the organisation that tried to blow up her school bus is frankly beyond the pale.”

Alliance Party leader Naomi Long also called out the video, telling people to “grow up”.

“I’m just utterly sick and tired of the constant drive to hurt and offend.

“We are better than this, surely?”

Yesterday, Alliance MLA Sorcha Eastwood stated on Twitter:

“In a week where ‘kill all taigs’ was scrawled beside an Irish language poster, a person singing “up the ra” to Arlene Foster- it is both disgusting & depressing. But these ppl aren’t representative of this place. Ignorant louts want to take us down to their level. Well, we won’t.”