Belfast Telegraph

Condemnation after theft of election posters while another was defaced

A billboard from John Finucane (Sinn Fein) campaign was reported to have been stolen, while a Steve Aiken (UUP) poster was defaced.

A billboard from the campaign for Sinn Fein North Belfast election candidate John Finucane was stolen (Niall Carson/PA)
A billboard from the campaign for Sinn Fein North Belfast election candidate John Finucane was stolen (Niall Carson/PA)

By Rebecca Black, PA

There has been condemnation following the theft and defacing of various candidates’ election posters.

Sinn Fein MLA Caral Ni Chuilin said John Finucane – her party’s candidate for North Belfast – will not be deterred by the theft of an election billboard.

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“John Finucane election posters were removed last week from lampposts near the Abbey Centre,” she said.

“In the early hours of this morning, a billboard was removed by a hooded man from the corner of the Limestone and Antrim Roads.

“A pattern of threats and intimidation is emerging in this contest and this latest action is another attempt to derail the democratic process.

“Our party has made a complaint to the police about this criminal act.

“The theft of these election posters will not deter Sinn Fein in this election campaign.”

Earlier, Alliance Party leader Naomi Long was among a number of politicians to condemn the defacing of an election poster for Ulster Unionist Party leader Steve Aiken.

The words unionist unity prevention were stuck to the poster.

Mr Aiken was previously criticised after announcing his party would stand a candidate in all of Northern Ireland’s 18 constituencies.

Following discussions, he later announced the party would not run in North Belfast against DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds who is expected to face a close race with Mr Finucane.

Ms Long tweeted about the defacing of his poster: “Really disgraceful behaviour. Solidarity with @SteveAikenUUP: no party or candidate should be bullied or intimidated in this way.”

The Alliance leader, who is running as a candidate in East Belfast, has also seen her posters targeted.

She tweeted a photograph of one of her posters which had the word “scum” daubed over her face, commenting: “Not sure this has the intended effect on voters. People generally find bullying and intimidation repugnant.”

PA

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