Northern Ireland news

DUP slammed for sharing pro-Brexit video using Troubles bomb footage

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

THE DUP has been criticised as "crass in the extreme" for sharing a unionist pro-Brexit video using Troubles footage as part of its European election campaigning.

The European Commission has also branded the Twitter video "fraudulent and pure disinformation" over an alleged misquote.

Posted online on Wednesday by the 'NI in Union' account, the video says Northern Ireland faces being "trapped" in the EU and urges unionists to "defend the union".

One section uses footage of 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."

This section of the video was later shared on DUP MEP Diane Dodds's Twitter account, alongside the tweet: "Tell them again! Reject the backstop. Defend the Union and deliver Brexit. Tomorrow vote #Dodds1."

Alliance councillor Sorcha Eastwood described the video shared on Ms Dodds's profile as "truly awful".

"To use footage of explosions, rioting etc with pictures of victims and survivors crying in the aftermaths of explosions for a political ad or campaign is absolutely and utterly grotesque, hurtful, insensitive and crass in the extreme," she tweeted.

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

However, the full video was shared by others in the party including DUP assembly member Jonathan Buckley.

He tweeted: "1. Defend The Union. 2. Deliver Brexit. Our very democracy is at risk of being betrayed and we must fight for it."

The full video includes a quote that Northern Ireland is "the price to pay for Brexit".

The quote is attributed in the video to Martin Selmayr, secretary-general of the EU Commission 

The quote was attributed in the video to Martin Selmayr, secretary-general of the European Commission.

This section was not shared on Ms Dodds's account.

Margaritis Schinas, chief spokesman for the European Commission, said the quote was "fake".

He went on to blast the video as "fraudulent and pure disinformation that has been spread maliciously".

The NI in Union Twitter account did not respond to requests for a comment.

The account has no name attached to it, and simply describes itself as "promoting the positive benefits of NI's membership of the UK".

In 2017, just days after its launch, NI in Union posted on its website an opinion piece from DUP leader Arlene Foster.

However, the DUP insisted it was not behind the new account, saying: "There is no political party connection."

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