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PUP man calls for carpet bombing in retaliation for Paris attacks

PUP South Antrim representative Scott McDowell

A PUP representative was forced to apologise at the weekend after calling for countries harbouring Islamic extremists to be "carpet bombed" in response to the attacks in Paris.

Scott McDowell, an activist in South Antrim, faced a social media backlash when he suggested "these countries should be carpet bombed and dare I say it a nuclear bomb be dropped on them if needs be", claiming they are "just breeding grounds for generations of suicide bombers and it will only get worse".

PUP spokesman Winston Irvine branded the comments "scandalous" and said they were not "from or on behalf of party".

Mr McDowell later apologised for the Facebook post which he said was "in the heat of the moment".

Meanwhile a meeting of the British cabinet's emergency committee to discuss the attacks in Paris took place with representatives from Scotland and Wales - but none from Northern Ireland.

It is understood the meeting of Cobra, held to discuss the fall-out from the Paris terrorist attacks, was joined via video link by Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and the director for local government for Wales.

British home secretary Theresa May said afterwards that the UK authorities were working to help find anyone involved in the "barbaric attacks".

But Ukip MLA David McNarry said assurances were needed that people in Northern Ireland were safe.

"People are giving assurances to Glasgow and Edinburgh and Cardiff and they'll be giving assurances to London and Manchester and Birmingham," he said.

"But who'll be giving assurances to Belfast, Armagh and Londonderry and the towns and villages of Northern Ireland?

"I would have thought that at the very least the first minister should have met with the chief constable and justice minister and either sought or given assurances over the threat of IS."

Mr McNarry said "people should be fearful" because it is not yet known what threat level, if any, exists for Northern Ireland.

"Given the existence of the IRA and especially dissident republican groups, we cannot be excluded from the counter-terrorism measures being taken by Cobra."

Mrs May said extra security measures had been put in place around the UK.

"People will see increased security at the borders, increased checks taking place," she said.

"There is also some increased police presence in major cities as well."

Mrs May said any refugees arriving in the UK from Syria would have been "thoroughly screened" to ensure they don't post a threat.

There are fears anti-migrant sentiment may be fuelled after a Syrian passport, discovered on or near one of the Paris suicide bombers, was found to have been used to pass through Greece at the height of the crisis.

The first charter flight carrying those fleeing the war-torn state is due to land in Glasgow tomorrow.

It is the start of a programme to resettle 20,000 people from camps around the Middle East country.

Mrs May said: "We have processes in place. There are two levels of screening that take place.

"First of all, we are taking people directly from the camps. We are working with UNHCR - UNHCR take biometrics, they look at documents, they interview people, they do their own process of screening against issues like war crimes and serious criminality.

"Then there is a further check that is done once people are referred to the UK. The Home Office then undertakes further checks, further biometrics are taken," she told the BBC.

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