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Roberta McNally profile: The Upper Bann DUP member who mocked Catholics and called Sinn Fein councillor ‘a tramp’ quits party


Edwin Poots has faced a torrid time since becoming DUP leader.

Edwin Poots has faced a torrid time since becoming DUP leader.

Edwin Poots has faced a torrid time since becoming DUP leader.

A DUP Upper Bann member who complained about the treatment of Arlene Foster as she resigned from the party had previously mocked Catholic voters as “Taigs” and branded a Sinn Fein election candidate “a tramp”.

Quitting the party, Roberta McNally spoke out against alleged bullying at the DUP executive meeting which ratified Edwin Poots as leader 12 days ago. She also criticised how Mrs Foster has been treated by his supporters.

In a Facebook post in April 2015, Ms McNally wrote: “Here we go again unionists attacking unionist on social media taigs must love it!!”

In another post referring to Sinn Fein election candidate Cat Seeley, she wrote “if the vote is split that tramp Seely has the potential to be the next MP”.

At the time, the DUP said Ms McNally was not a member of the party. However, she had signed the nomination papers of Upper Bann candidate David Simpson and was quoted as a supporter in his election literature.

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Ms McNally, who was the Lurgan Royal British Legion chair, also featured in numerous photographs canvassing with DUP politicians, including one where Mr Simpson had his arm around her.

Her remarks had been made as it emerged that the DUP and UUP had failed to agree a single unionist candidate in the constituency.

Ms McNally later apologised for using the word ‘Taig’. She said it was an “off the cuff remark and certainly was not intended to offend anyone”.

She told The Lurgan Mail: “I have many Catholic friends who I hold in high esteem and they know I would not offend them at any costs.”

Ms McNally announced on Facebook yesterday that she had resigned from the DUP as controversy continues following Mr Poots’ leadership. She described herself as a party member for “approximately six years”, a DUP executive member for the past year, and the Upper Bann secretary.

She told Belfast Live: “I resigned because of the divisions in the party. I was at odds with most of the others in Upper Bann so I think my position would have been terminated anyway.

“I also disagreed with the manner in which Arlene Foster was ousted. No matter whether she was right or wrong you cannot treat people the way she was treated and remain credible.

“The final straw for me was the Executive meeting to ratify Edwin Poots. The arrogance shown by some senior politicians made me very angry.”

She added: “It is my opinion that some of those at the top of the party are not in the least bit interested in grassroots unionism. I don’t think my resignation will be the last."

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