O’Dowd accuses dissidents of trying to intimidate Sinn Fein canvassers
Dissident republicans are being blamed for harassing election canvassers in Co Armagh.
Sinn Fein candidates and party workers say they have been verbally abused in a bid to intimidate them off the streets in the Drumbeg estate, Craigavon.
The party’s election posters have also been pulled down.
“I see it as an attempt to intimidate voters,” said MLA John |O’Dowd. “It is petty harassment. When we have been out knocking on doors they have been following us around hurling foul-mouthed abuse. I have had it happen to me and my council colleague Tommy O’Connor has had it happen to him.
“The first incident involved teenagers, but the other incident there were older men and that was a bit more sinister. They stand on the street corner and shout |at you.
“I did manage to engage with some of the younger members of the crowd and they were able to tell me what they wanted for the area.”
Mr O’Dowd said the ripping down of election posters happened so often it had almost become a “custom”.
“We would be on the ground quite a lot, whether it is through constituency work or leafleting or whatever, and this would happen quite often,” he added.
“It is designed to intimidate you and make you put the clip board under your arm and walk away, but that won’t happen.”