Belfast Telegraph

Sinn Fein councillor 'regrets causing offence' after 'repulsive' anti-Queen tweet

Sinn Fein councillor JJ Magee
Sinn Fein councillor JJ Magee
Gareth Cross

By Gareth Cross

Sinn Fein councillor JJ Magee has said 'he regrets causing offence' after retweeting a tweet with anti-Queen sentiments.

Councillor Magee said he deleted the tweet when the offensive content was pointed out to him.

The tweet addressed the actions of Cliftonville FC players, who bowed their heads before yesterday's Irish Cup Final game against Coleraine during the playing of 'God Save the Queen'.

Cliftonville went on to lose the game 3-1.

The club had asked the IFA not to play the anthem before the game, but the IFA rejected their request saying they would consider the situation going forward.

In 2013 the anthem was not played before Cliftonville's Irish Cup final game with Belfast rivals Glentoran.

Councillor Magee reteweeted the tweet yesterday which read:

"Cliftonville literally have a team of James mcCleans. Unbelievable from everyone of the players when God save the queen was played. FTQ".

FTQ is understood to mean F*** the Queen.

DUP councillor Dale Pankhurst said that the tweet was "repulsive."

The retweet from Sinn Fein councillor JJ Magee.
The retweet from Sinn Fein councillor JJ Magee.

There was a mixed response to the actions of the Clinftonville players with senior unionist politicians including North Antrim MP Ian Paisley and East Londonderry MP Gregory Campbell condemning the decision to bow their heads.

North Belfast MLA Gerry Kelly defended the Cliftonville players saying it was a 'dignified protest'

“I am repulsed by this retweet by JJ Magee which carries a slogan that is very offensive to many Unionists and Loyalists. JJ regularly talks about respect and equality. It is time he practiced what he preaches,” councillor Pankhurst said.

“It is also somehow ironic that JJ was one of those condemning Jolene Bunting, who I myself condemned for the graphic she put up, yet a few days later he is placing offensive posts on his own Twitter page.”

“I would call on him to withdraw the tweet and publicly apologise for any offence caused.”

Councillor Magee said he had never intended to offend anyone.

DUP Belfast City councillor Dale Pankhurst.
DUP Belfast City councillor Dale Pankhurst.

“I regret any offence caused by the retweet," he said.

"It was never my intention to offend or disrespect anyone and I withdrew the tweet as soon as the offensive comment was pointed out to me.”

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