Northern Ireland news

DUP minister Maurice Morrow also says St Patrick was a Protestant

New social development minister Maurice Morrow
Brendan Hughes

DUP minister Maurice Morrow also claimed St Patrick was a Protestant, it has emerged.

The new social development minister made the claim while debating whether Stormont should 'go green' for St Patrick's Day.

It emerges after high-profile unionist councillor Ruth Patterson raised eyebrows on Wednesday when she claimed St Patrick was a "former Protestant".

Lord Morrow had been debating with Sinn Féin's Phil Flanagan last year on BBC Radio Foyle calls for Stormont to be illuminated green for St Patrick's Day.

The DUP Fermanagh and South Tyrone MLA said: "It should be remembered that St Patrick was in fact a Protestant, and St Patrick is someone whom I have considerable regard and respect for, and I wouldn't want him to be used then as some sort of a political football."

He added: "St Patrick, I think wrongly, has been mostly identified with the Catholic community."

Mr Flanagan responded: "Maurice Morrow's hanging about England too much. He needs to actually catch himself on, running about telling people that St Patrick was a Protestant.

"As far as I remember when I was taught at school there was no such thing as a Protestant religion in 432."

Mr Flanagan shared on Twitter a recording of the comments following Belfast councillor Ms Patterson's remarks on BBC Radio Ulster.

The Fermanagh and South Tyrone MLA tweeted: "Our social development minister said St Patrick was a Protestant on @bbcradiofoyle."

Last week Lord Morrow was appointed social development minister after DUP colleague Mervyn Storey moved to the Department of Finance.

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