Northern Ireland news

Jim Allister forced to apologise to Sinn Féin after Tyrone football gaffe

TUV leader Jim Allister. Picture by Liam McBurney/PA Wire

TUV leader Jim Allister has had to issue an apology on the floor of the assembly after wrongly accusing a member of Sinn Féin of being present at Sunday's Tyrone football final, where there was a pitch invasion by fans.

Mr Allister accused Fermanagh and South Tyrone MLA Colm Gildernew of being at the Dungannon Clarkes' victory over Trillick at Healy Park in Omagh.

The game attracted controversy after hundreds of fans invaded the pitch after the Clarkes historic victory in breach of coronavirus restrictions.

Addressing Mr Gildernew, the unionist MLA said: "He talks about example and common sense, I'm not saying he was out in the middle of the pitch but he was there. And then comes to this house telling us about leading by example".

However, the Sinn Féin health committee member corrected the TUV leader, stating that he was not at the Tyrone Senior Football Championship.

"The member should check his facts before he comes into this house and males assertions, I wasn't at the game", Mr Gildernew said.

"The member should note that the GAA plays a fantastic contribution in our communities, and if the member takes a look at the Dungannon Covid response he will see that the Thomas Clarkes club provided assistance to vulnerable people in our society, right throughout the pandemic", he added.

Mr Allister responded by saying: "The member says he wasn't there, why then did he tweet ...'I didn't get a ticket for Healy Park today' sorry 'so decided to head to Dungannon Park instead'.

Realising his mistake, he said: "Sorry my apology, different place".

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access

Northern Ireland news