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DUP councillor Graham Craig apologises for slur against Alliance activist

Councillor Graham Craig with DUP leader Arlene Foster

A BELFAST DUP councillor who accused an Alliance activist of speaking on behalf of republican paramilitaries has apologised for what he said.

Councillor Graham Craig, who defected to Arlene Foster's party from the Ulster Unionists in 2016, made the remark about Sorcha Eastwood on Twitter last month.

The Botanic ward councillor, who deleted the tweet within 24 hours of posting it, had reacted to Ms Eastwood voicing "solidarity" with the families of the 1972 Ballymurphy massacre.

Ms Eastwood, Alliance's West Belfast candidate in last year's Westminster election, said she could take the "cut and thrust" of politics but accused Mr Craig of going too far.

"I don't mind the cut and thrust of politics and I put up with a fair amount, but I draw the line at Graham Craig, a DUP Councillor referring to me as a 'mouthpiece for the PIRA' – it's defamatory, dangerous and totally crosses a line."

The Alliance activist sought legal advice at the time.

Mr Craig posted his apology yesterday via a link from his Twitter feed.

It said: "On 13 August 2018, I made a statement on my Twitter account regarding Sorcha Eastwood alleging she is a mouthpiece for the Provisional IRA.

"I accept that my statement is untrue and should never have been published in the first place. I sincerely apologise to Ms Eastwood and her family for any hurt and distress I may have caused."

Alliance did not comment.

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