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Man who sent Health Minister Robin Swann 'threatening and offensive' messages cautioned by PSNI

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Health minister Robin Swann

Health minister Robin Swann

Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press E

Health minister Robin Swann

A man who sent "threatening and offensive" messages to Health Minister Robin Swann as he worked to tackle the coronavirus pandemic has been been cautioned by police.

On April 5, the 26-year-old man was arrested in the Ballymena area on suspicion of improper use of telecommunications causing anxiety.

He was subsequently released on bail pending further enquiries.

The messages sent to Mr Swann on social media were expletive-ridden and contained sectarian references.

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One read: “You and your scummy bastarding government are f*****g useless c***s and I swear when this is all over il [sic] hunt you good for nothing rotten bastards down and il [sic] make you and your family suffer ya useless f*****g bastard. Time you British bastards left Ireland.”

Another referenced the IRA, stating: "Uppa ra [sic]”.

Now it has emerged the man has been cautioned for offence.

“Police investigating threatening and offensive comments made on a social media platform on Friday, 3rd April have administered an adult caution to a 26-year-old man," PSNI superintendent Darrin Jones said in a statement.

When the messages emerged in last month, they were met with widespread condemnation from across the political spectrum.

First Minister Arlene Foster described the threats as "vile and disgusting".

"In very turbulent and challenging times there is no place for this nonsense as we work together to save lives. Solidarity to Robin and his family," she added.

Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill said: “The disgraceful abuse and threats against Health Minister Robin Swann are to be condemned.”

Ulster Unionist leader Steve Aiken condemned the threats as "an attack on the health system".

"This is an absolutely disgusting attack on someone who is doing their level best for everybody in Northern Ireland," he said.

"It is not just an attack on Robin, it is an attack on our whole system and our health service and on our health care. The fact it has sectarian overtones shows the how important it is for all political leaders to condemn it."

"Robin wants to do the best, to make sure the Northern Ireland Executive is seen to be functioning effectively because everyone in NI needs to have confidence our Executive is doing the right thing.


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