Belfast Telegraph

'That's a cracker' - Danny Morrison gets 24-hour Twitter ban

By Brendan Morley

A prominent republican was slapped with a temporary ban by Twitter after using the phrase "that's a cracker" on the social media platform.

Danny Morrison, a former director of publicity for Sinn Fein, posted the comment in response to a picture of singer-songwriter Adele that had been tweeted to him.

While "that's a cracker" - the catchphrase of late comedian Frank Carson - is popular in Belfast, in the United States, the word "cracker" is seen as a racist reference to poor southern whites.

Mr Morrison was suspended from Twitter for 24 hours over the weekend following the incident.

The former editor of Sinn Fein newspaper An Phoblacht and spokesman for hunger striker Bobby Sands revealed: "In response to two tweets to me which included two pics of Adele, I said of the second, 'That's a cracker!'

"Next thing I knew, Twitter suspended my account and said I was in breach of its terms.

"I followed links on an email to appeal the suspension and what showed up is that someone had complained about my comment. I've been using the term 'cracker' for years. There are biscuits called 'cracker' and even a TV series."

Mr Morrison was allowed back on Twitter on Sunday after 24 hours.

It is not known who reported Morrison's throwaway comment to the social media company.

Niall Stanage, an Irish journalist who now covers the White House tweeted to Morrison: "I think we are having a crossing of the wires here regarding the very different meanings of 'cracker' in Belfast and the US. (In the US) it's a pejorative/racially loaded term for a white person.

"From 'whip cracker' on plantations, I believe."

Last year, Morrison's long-term political associate, Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams, was forced to apologise after tweeting: "Watching Django unchained - Ballymurphy N*****!"

He said that his use of 'the N-word' had been "ironic".

Mr Adams apologised for any offence caused but insisted: "I stand over the context and main point of my tweet about the Django which were the parallels between people in struggle."

Danny Morrison (64) was born in west Belfast and is believed to have first joined Sinn Fein in 1966.

He hit the headlines in 1981 at the Sinn Fein ard fheis when he made a speech saying: "Who here really believes we can win the war through the ballot box? But will anyone here object if, with a ballot paper in one hand and an Armalite in this hand, we take power in Ireland?"

Mr Morrison was briefly elected in the Mid Ulster constituency for the then short-lived Northern Ireland Assembly from 1982 to 1986.

He also stood unsuccessfully in a number of elections, including for the European Parliament in 1984.

In 1990, he was jailed for the false imprisonment of an IRA informer and conspiracy to murder.

He served five years of an eight-year sentence but the conviction was overturned in 2008.

He has written a number of books and has became known as a political commentator.

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