DUP's Adrian McQuillan stands by Traveller comments
A DUP assembly member accused of racism has said he will not apologise for urging people to lock up their property after Travellers moved into a Co Derry town.
Adrian McQuillan made the comment on Facebook after posting pictures of members of the Travelling community in the village of Garvagh.
It is believed several families set up a temporary camp at a car park in the Bridge Street area of the town last week.
Mr McQuillan wrote: “Look who has moved into Bridge St car park Garvagh make sure all your out houses are locked.
“Police have been notified but are not interested, no chance there then, also council has been notified they will respond in the morning.”
Several Traveller families later moved from the area.
Causeway coast and Glens councillor Gerry Mullan described the comments as a “disgrace”.
“It is racist,” he said.
“Taking photos of Travellers’ caravans and posting them on social media is bad enough given the past sectarianism in Garvagh, but alluding thieving to the Travellers is totally over the top and needs to be addressed.”
However, Mr McQuillan stood by his remarks on Monday night.
“All I was doing was giving a warning,” he said.
“If you can’t warn people what’s this coming to?”
He said he is “on the side of people doing the thing right”.
“I don’t apologise for saying it and I will not be."
The East Derry MLA also rejected suggestions he is racist.
“I was putting out a warning to my community, responding to people’s comments to me,” he said.