Belfast Telegraph

Tweet row activist is suspended

By Victoria Leonard

A Green Party activist has been suspended from the board of a suicide prevention charity while it investigates tweets made in his name, claiming that the DUP is "killing kids across the country" with homophobia.

The comments on the account of North Belfast Green member and LGBTQ activist Malachai O'Hara, who sits on the board of Lighthouse, a mental health charity, were tweeted on Friday, the day new DUP councillor Dale Pankhurst was officially co-opted onto the City Council.

Mr O'Hara advised a Twitter follower: "Go see the DUP and Dale and tell them their homophobia is killing kids across the country."

In response, Mr Pankhurst (23), a Queen's University student, wrote: "As someone who doesn't have a homophobic bone in their body and knows many people who are gay, I am utterly disgusted by this tweet from a Green Party activist."

Last night, Mr Pankhurst said he was "absolutely horrified" by Mr O'Hara's claims, and called for him to publicly apologise.

He added that he had made an official complaint to Lighthouse and was "considering his options".

Mr O'Hara referred this newspaper to the Green Party press office for comment. The party said it was aware of Mr O'Hara's comments, but had "received no complaints about Malachai".

Lighthouse confirmed it had received an official complaint and would place Mr O'Hara on a "cautionary suspension pending a full investigation". They added: "The comments made by Mr O'Hara on his personal Twitter account are his personal views and in no shape or form reflect or represent the views of Lighthouse."

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