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Critics should 'lighten up' over MS Society's 'orange' tweet, says Ulster Unionist MLA John Stewart

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East Antrim UUP MLA, John Stewart, urged critics not to look for offence where none is intended

East Antrim UUP MLA, John Stewart, urged critics not to look for offence where none is intended

East Antrim UUP MLA, John Stewart, urged critics not to look for offence where none is intended

Critics of tweet by the MS Society calling on people to turn the streets of Belfast orange need to "lighten up", an Ulster Unionist MLA has said.

Last week, the MS Society tweeted to its 53,000 followers about a fundraising walk in Belfast planned for September.

"Let's turn the streets of Belfast orange!" the tweet read, referencing the charity's brand colour.

The tweet also featured a picture of supporters wearing bright orange T-shirts.

Social media users were quick to point out that this was also the colour of the Orange Orange, which parades through the city on July 12 each year.

The MS Society apologised, stating: "We're sorry for any offence caused by this tweet and understand how it may have been interpreted."

Ulster Unionist MLA John Stewart said critics needed to "lighten up" and not look to take offence where none was intended.

"Unionists have the sense not to be daft enough to complain when Environmental Campaigns urge them to ‘go Green’ and I am sure many people who wouldn’t necessarily be supporters of the Orange Order would have no issue with that particular colour being chosen by the MS society," he added.

“In a similar way, when the Holland National team played Northern Ireland in Belfast back in November 2019, the media and the general public saw the humorous side of an ‘Orange parade’ with a difference, organised by the colourful Dutch fans as they walked from the city centre to the ground."

The MS Society removed the advert and said it was an "honest mistake".

"Orange is the MS Society's brand colour and this campaign was used to promote our MS fundraiser across the whole of the UK. We appreciate the sensitivities in Northern Ireland," the organisation added.

Mr Stewart pointed that the Orange Order raises thousands of pounds for charities each year, benefiting people across the community in Northern Ireland.

“A little bit of common sense goes a long way, and the MS Society should be applauded for their efforts to highlight awareness and promote their fundraising walk due to take place in Belfast on Sunday September 13," he said.

"The Ulster Unionist Party wishes them well in their endeavours.”

Belfast Telegraph