Belfast Telegraph

UKIP's David McNarry calls reaction to images of three-year-old Syrian boy found dead on beach 'emotionally hysteric'

The UKIP MLA said it was an 'undoubtedly shocking photo' but that he was referring to the reaction

By Claire Williamson

UKIP's David McNarry has described the reaction to a three-year-old Syrian boy found dead on a beach as "emotionally hysteric".

There has been a public outcry after little Aylan Kurdi was pictured lying face down in the sand on a Turkish beach as an official stands over him.

The tiny child is thought to be part of a group of 11 Syrians who drowned off the coastal town of Bodrum in Turkey after an attempt to escape the war ravaged country and cross the Mediterranean to reach the safety of of Europe.

Since the shocking picture pressure has grown on the UK to take more people fleeing to Europe from Syria.

A vigil organised by Belfast's Lord Mayor Arder Carson "in support of the ongoing refugee and humanitarian crisis".

It will take place at 5pm at Belfast City Hall.

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However speaking on the BBC Stephen Nolan UKIP MLA David McNarry branded the reaction to the image as "emotionally hysteric".

He said: "It's easy to, and I do understand those, perhaps it's their make-up, getting emotionally hysteric over this.

"It was undoubtedly shocking photo in the front of yesterday's papers as you say and you'd really need to be a heartless brute not to be sickened by the photograph of the little boy."

When probed on what he meant by "emotional hysteria" he said he was referring to the reaction to the image.

He said: "I'm talking about the reaction to it. The reaction is how do we cope with this. Are we going to bring people in to give them shelter heat and food. Nobody would say no I wouldn't do that

"But are we going to give them permanent residence? Where will the houses come from? The jobs? Where will the jobs come and the school places found eventually?

"How will that sit with the people who today in my country are looking for a job, they are waiting on a house and unable to get their child the school place that they want?"

Heartwrenching pictures, some of which are too upsetting to publish, have shocked the world.

Deputy first minister Martin McGuinness has made a direct plea to the Prime Minister to accept more refugees from Syria and the Middle East.

He has said Northern Ireland could take a couple of thousand refugees.

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In a statement on Thursday Mr McGuinness said: "The world has been shocked by the harrowing images which have been beamed across the globe in recent days and we all have a responsibility to do everything in our power to alleviate this growing humanitarian crisis.

"I spoke to David Cameron today and made a direct appeal to him to permit entry to more refugees and to enable regions such as our own to welcome these people."

People have reacted angrily to the comments made by the UKIP MLA.

One twitter user said "It's a matter of life or death for refugees. David McNarry forgets the UK taking in Jewish children in '39. We should do the same."

Another posted: "Shameful comment by David McNarry" and "The idea that the public reaction to refugees dying as "emotional hysteria" is really something. I can't cope with David McNarry".

Belfast Telegraph Digital


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