European Election 2019

DUP urged to clarify link to pro-Brexit Twitter using Troubles bomb footage

The DUP's Diane Dodds, and inset, the tweet by NI in Union
Brendan Hughes

THE DUP has been urged to clarify any links to a pro-Brexit Twitter account that used footage of Troubles' bombings to encourage unionists to vote in the European election.

The video posted by NI in Union was branded "crass in the extreme" after a section was shared on MEP Diane Dodds's Twitter account on Wednesday.

It shows a gunman, bomb blasts and injured people alongside titles that read: "We have faced threats before. We have faced bullets and bombs."

"We must stand up for Northern Ireland. Use your unionist vote on Thursday," the video continues.

The DUP has previously insisted it has "no political party connection" to NI in Union, which carried an article from DUP leader Arlene Foster within days of launching a website in 2017.

But further questions have been raised following similarities between posts by NI in Union and some DUP members.

The Irish News asked the DUP to clarify whether a party member was involved in the NI in Union account, but it did not respond to requests for a comment.

Alliance MLA Stewart Dickson said it was "important the DUP clarifies its connection" to the group "particularly as it previously carried an opinion piece from Arlene Foster".

"There are dark and sinister undertones to this video, which the DUP should acknowledge and apologise for the insensitivity in using it," the East Antrim assembly member added.

The video clip on Ms Dodds's account was later deleted.

However, a full version of the video posted by NI in Union was shared by others in the DUP including MLA Jonathan Buckley.

This version was criticised by the European Commission for an alleged misquote.

It says Northern Ireland faces being "trapped" in the EU, and attributes to the commission's secretary-general Martin Selmayr a quote that Northern Ireland is "the price to pay for Brexit".

Margaritis Schinas, chief spokesman for the European Commission, said the quote was "fake" and described the video as "fraudulent and pure disinformation that has been spread maliciously".

NI in Union has also not responded to requests for a comment.

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