Belfast Telegraph

Queen's launches probe after SF 'Brits out' poster at Freshers' Fair stall sparks storm

The poster at the stall
The poster at the stall
Allan Preston

By Allan Preston

Queen's University has launched an investigation after a poster containing a 'Brits out' slogan was displayed by Sinn Fein's youth wing at the Freshers' Fair.

The poster, featuring 1916 Easter Rising leader James Connolly, included an image of a group of people holding up the placard featuring the words.

It has drawn widespread criticism from unionists.

The poster appeared at Sinn Fein's stall at the Belfast campus on Thursday.

The display also included posters of the late Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and Free Derry Corner.

Ulster Unionist MLA Andy Allen said the poster showed that Sinn Fein's respect agenda does not flow both ways.

"As both a former soldier in the British Army and a British citizen, I feel the poster does nothing but cause polarisation," he said.

"In 2019, this polarisation should be consigned to the past and we should be working to deliver for all our citizens."

DUP MP Emma Little-Pengelly also criticised the poster, stating that those who placed it are an "embarrassment".

However, Sinn Fein MLA Alex Maskey told the BBC that the sign was a "political poster with historical context".

"That is a political poster which was designed years ago," he said.

"Nobody understands that to mean people who have a British identity have to go, this is all about the British state involvement in Ireland."

A spokesperson from Queen's University said the institution is "committed to creating and sustaining a harmonious environment free from language or materials that are likely to be provocative or offensive, as reflected by the University's equality and diversity policy".

"In line with the university's core values, Queen's expects all of its staff and students treat each other with dignity and respect.

"The university is investigating issues relating to the Students' Union Freshers' Fair and the relevant disciplinary measures will be applied as appropriate following the investigation."

Earlier this year, Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald faced similar criticism after marching with a banner saying 'England out of Ireland' during a St Patrick's day parade in New York.

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