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Irish News columnist Jim Gibney 'delighted' as column provokes critical reaction from Glentoran Twitter account

Irish News columnist Jim Gibney said he was "delighted" his piece on the economic benefits of a United Ireland had sparked debate
Marie Louise McConville

JIM Gibney, whose Irish News column on the benefits of a united Ireland was criticised on Glentoran FC's social media account, has described the comments as "welcome news".

The commentator and Sinn Féin activist said he was "delighted" to hear his column had sparked a reaction "whether positive of negative".

In the column on Monday he argued that a united Ireland would be "affordable" and that nationalists, unionists, and those with no political persuasion, would be "better off".

His suggestions were based around a recently released Sinn Féin document on the issue.

However a member of Glentoran's FC's social media team criticised the piece through the club's official Twitter account.

The post, which appeared to the public for less a minute before it was deleted, read: "Why didn't Sinn Féin tell us his [sic] before. It would've saved a lot of hassle. Next up, 'We're all better off in the UK says leading unionist'."

A spokesman for Glentoran FC said the tweet was "not sanctioned on behalf of the club and does not represent the club's opinion."

Mr Gibney told The Irish News he was "delighted" the column had sparked some discussion, adding that as he grew up in the Short Strand area of east Belfast, Glentoran was his local club and his brother was a big supporter.

"It is welcome news," he said.

"The purpose of the document was the economic benefits of a united Ireland and it is a document Sinn Féin recently released and I reviewed it.

"I am delighted to hear someone put it up whether it is positive or negative. We need debate about it. I am delighted."

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