Belfast Telegraph

Maskey's 'putrid little statelet NI' tweet exemplifies Sinn Fein disrespect again: Little-Pengelly

By Jonathan Bell

Sinn Fein MLA Alex Maskey's branding of Northern Ireland as a "putrid little statelet," again "exemplifies an attitude of disrespect" within the party, a DUP MP has said.

The west Belfast MLA was responding to a tweet from SDLP leader Colum Eastwood who commemorated the centenary of the extension of voting rights for women.

"We can't forget that it took the Civil Rights Association here to ensure that all people got full access to voting rights," said the Foyle MLA.

Responding, Alex Maskey said: "Unfortunately it took more than the CRA to secure rights in the putrid little statelet NI."

Later, and after a barrage of criticism, he added: "Looking back on how the northern 6 county state systemically discriminated against many of its citizens I am delighted how far we have came. Still a way to go to deliver fully on rights for all and that is our current task."

South Belfast MP Emma Little Pengelly asked if the comment represented the view of the Sinn Fein leadership.

“Alex Maskey’s description of Northern Ireland as a “putrid little statelet” exemplifies a continued attitude of disrespect within Sinn Fein. This is all the more offensive, as the reference is within a tweet appearing to justify terrorism," she said.

"Time and time again, we see Sinn Fein representatives demanding standards from others which they are unwilling to uphold themselves. We are entitled to know whether such comments are representative of Mary Lou McDonald’s view when she talks about 'unionist brothers and sisters'."

People are questioning whether Mary Lou McDonald and Michelle O’Neill are either unwilling or unable to take action and demonstrate leadership.

Since the beginning of the year the Sinn Fein leadership has been called into question over how it handled Barry McElduff's Kingsmill video and more recently Gerry Kelly's use of bolt cutters to remove a wheel clamp from his car.

Mrs Little-Pengelly added: "To call Northern Ireland a 'putrid little statelet' shows utter contempt to many who, like me, are deeply proud of the province and the wonderful people from across the community, and the achievements in so many of our sectors and citizens here and across the world.

"At present, people are questioning whether Mary Lou McDonald and Michelle O’Neill are either unwilling or unable to take action and demonstrate leadership. When the continued glorification of the Provisional IRA extends to the new President-elect it leads many to believe Sinn Fein’s supposedly new leadership is not willing to even attempt to demonstrate any new thinking or contrition for past action and atrocities.

"On the day we mark 100 years since the extension of voting rights for women, Alex Maskey chooses to offensively justify those who murdered innocent women like Joanne Mathers for the "crime” of collecting census forms.”

Faux outrage by some unionists at my comments ignore the facts. Alex Maskey

In a statement from his party Alex Maskey said: "The northern state was a unionist-dominated apartheid state, founded on religious and civil discrimination and which denied citizens fundamental rights such as the right to vote.

"Peaceful civil rights demonstrators were beaten off the streets in an effort to crush the demands for civil and human rights, Special Powers were used to suppress protest, and the state forces played an active role in sectarian progroms of the 1920s, 1930s and 1960s.

“The Unionist party presided over all of that.

“Faux outrage by some unionists at my comments ignore the facts that a wide range of people from the Civil Rights Association right through to progressive unionists opposed this sectarian discrimination and demanded civil and human rights for all.”

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