Belfast Telegraph

DUP's Jim Wells: I did not mean to retweet 'joke' about Irish

'It was entirely in error. I meant to delete it'

Ireland's John Joe Nevin with his Men's Bantam 56kg silver medal
Ireland's John Joe Nevin with his Men's Bantam 56kg silver medal
Margaret Canning

By Margaret Canning

DUP assembly member Jim Wells has denied that he deliberately re-tweeted a comment making fun of the Irish which had been prompted by Team Ireland’s medal success in Olympic boxing.

The South Down MLA appeared to circulate the so-called joke, which originated from a Ukip supporter in England after Ireland’s John Joe Nevin won a silver medal in Saturday’s bantamweight final.

“The Irish take the gold — most of the lead off the roof and half of the copper piping from the changing rooms,” his comment read.

The comment appeared as a retweet on Mr Wells’ timeline, making it appear that he wanted to repeat the comment so that his own followers on the micro-blogging website could also see it.

Mr Wells said he had instead intended to delete the tweet, which he said he did not find funny. “It was entirely in error. I meant to delete it.”

Mr Wells said he had “blocked” the person who sent it so that he could no longer see his tweets. He said the tweet arrived in the middle of a Twitter debate about whether Great Britain’s double-gold medallist Mo Farah should be made a lord or knighted. “There was a whole series of debates over how we should recognise the athletes, then there came the message which I meant to delete. I retweeted it instead but when I realised my mistake I deleted it.”

Deleting it had caused him some hassle. “I had to call on some experts to get rid of it.”

The sender, a self-styled ‘feckless ex-RAF type’, was unrepentant after a flood of tweets calling the comment “disgraceful and bigoted”.

He defended himself by saying: “Excellent — you rehash an old Frank Carson gag and suddenly you're trolling a nation. I appear to be guilty of multiple ‘isms’”.

Belfast Telegraph


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