Belfast Telegraph

DUP MLA and councillor leave Trust meeting over safety concerns

Two DUP representatives have claimed they had to leave a public meeting over fears for their own safety.

Gary Middleton MLA and Councillor Hilary McClintock were attending a Western Health Trust meeting at the Verbal Arts Centre in Londonderry.

The meeting was paused when the Chief Executive of the Trust was heckled by some members of the Trust.

This resulted in the two politicians having to leave through an emergency exit for concerns of their own safety.

Mr Middleton posted on Twitter that the "aggression from some elements in attendance was unacceptable."

The Foyle MLA stated that himself and fellow DUP representative Mrs McClintock were "shouted from the meeting."

DUP leader Arlene Foster has described the behaviour as a "disgrace."

Mrs Foster said: “It is disgraceful that tonight during a public meeting two DUP representatives had to be escorted out for their own safety.

"I condemn this bullying behaviour. This is not how democratic politics should work. This approach resembles a fascist society rather than a democratic society.

"Whilst there will be differing views in public meetings, people should not be surrounded and forced to leave by an emergency exit. Their point should have been heard and respected," she stated.

"Gary and Hillary attended the meeting on behalf of their constituents. They wanted to express their view on how to improve health care in the north-west. That opportunity was denied by extreme and dangerous elements. 

The DUP leader added: "To have any public representative attacked in the manner, which was on display tonight is shameful. Such hate cannot be tolerated. I will be seeking a meeting with the Western Trust about how this developed but also about how it can be avoided in future.  My constituents have views about the health service and their voice will be heard."

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