Belfast Telegraph

Queen's University investigating Sinn Fein 'Brits Out' poster at Fresher's Fair

The poster at Sinn Fein's fresher's stall
The poster at Sinn Fein's fresher's stall

Queen's University has launched an investigation into a poster with the slogan 'Brits Out' that was displayed at the Fresher's Fair by Sinn Fein's youth wing.

The poster attracted widespread criticism from unionists after it was displayed at Thursday's event at the Belfast campus.

Sinn Fein's stall was adorned with party material, including posters of late Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and Free Derry Corner.

However one poster featuring 1916 Easter Rising leader James Connolly included an image of a group of people holding up a placard featuring the words 'Brits out'.

DUP MP Emma Little-Pengelly said those who erected the poster are an "embarrassment", however Sinn Fein's Alex Maskey defended it as 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."

Ulster Unionist MLA Andy Allen, however, said Mr Maskey's defence has "no credibility", branding it "pathetic".

As both a former soldier in the British Army and a British citizen, I feel the poster does nothing but cause polarisation. In 2019, this polarisation should be consigned to the past and we should be working to deliver for all our citizens," he added.

"If British citizens in this country are saying that they find the statement “Brits Out” offensive, why is that not reason enough for Sinn Fein to consign it to the bin where it belongs?"

Following the criticism, Queen's University said they are investigating the issue.

"Queen's University 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," a spokesperson said.

"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 Fresher’s Fair and the relevant disciplinary measures will be applied as appropriate following the investigation."

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