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Kissing terrorists advert for Republic of Ireland vote condemned

By David Young

Published 28/04/2015

The controversial Paddy Power billboard
The controversial Paddy Power billboard

Gay rights campaigners last night condemned as "tasteless and irrelevant" a billboard portraying two IRA terrorists in balaclavas kissing and cuddling.

Positioned for maximum shock value outside the GPO in O'Connell Street - the headquarters of the leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising - the giant Paddy Power billboard features two well-dressed men in balaclavas kissing beside the IRA slogan 'Tiocfaidh Ar La'.

The bookmaker is offering odds for a yes (1/10) and no (5/1) vote in the Republic's upcoming referendum on same-sex marriage.

Terry McFarlane, a spokesperson for the Northern Ireland Gay Rights Association (NIGRA), hit out at the advertising display.

"This advert is tasteless, irrelevant and unwise," he said.

"The most offensive thing about it is that it portrays gay men as terrorists.

"I don't know who they're trying to appeal to - or what point they're trying to make."

A press release for bookmakers Paddy Power said: "Our latest betting on the referendum makes it look rosy in the garden for the YES camp - but don't be surprised if the NO vote comes from behind to give us all a surprise."

The NIGRA spokesperson also slammed some MLAs for not taking part in yesterday's gay marriage vote at Stormont.

Several SDLP and Alliance Party MLAs did not appear to support their parties' policies in favour of gay marriage.

At 47 in favour and 49 against, yesterday's vote was very close, he said.

Had the missing MLAs voted with their parties, there would have been a majority of MLAs in favour of gay marriage.

While the DUP's Petition of Concern would still have prevented the motion from being implemented, Mr McFarlane felt that a majority vote in favour of gay marriage would have sent out a strong signal that it was only a matter of time before gay marriage would be made legal in Northern Ireland.

"But unfortunately once again we are out of step with the rest of the UK," he said.

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