Northern Ireland news

Greysteel massacre relative 'appalled' at DUP selection of candidate with history of offensive social media posts

Tyler Hoey
John Breslin

A RELATIVE of a victim of the UDA Greysteel Massacre has said she is "appalled" at the selection by the DUP of a candidate who liked a social media post praising the atrocity.

Tyler Hoey, who is set to contest the election in the Bannside area of Ballymena, has left a trail of offensive comments on social media despite attempts to clear them from the internet.

He liked a tweet glorifying the 1993 shooting at the Rising Sun Bar in which eight people were killed and 19 injured after gunmen sprayed a bar.

The candidate also makes several other references to the UDA in his historic tweets.

Mr Hoey previously worked as a canvasser for North Antrim MP Ian Paisley when he was last elected in 2019.

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The candidate's comments on Greysteel and other issues date from 2019 and 2020.

Mr Paisely has previously said he took action to make sure the posts were removed, an apology made and "a real life lesson learnt".

Screen shots from his now deleted Twitter account reveal he suggested people deeply worried about the spread of the coronavirus should be executed.

He also made an attempted joke about 39 immigrants who died in the back of a lorry.

A niece of one of those killed in the Rising Sun Bar in Greysteel condemned the selection of Mr Hoey as a DUP candidate.

A memorial dedicated to the victims of Greysteel who were murdered in The Rising Sun bar on 30th October 1993. Picture Margaret McLaughlin

"As the niece of a victim of the Greysteel Massacre, I am appalled that a candidate who has shown support for hateful tweets about my uncle's murder has been selected," Fiona Jane posted on Twitter.

"Hate has no place in our society, and I refuse to stay silent while it is given a platform."

The DUP said the like and other comments are old and that Mr Hoey recognises "they were not appropriate".

“These are old social media comments from an account that was deactivated some time ago and the majority of which were the subject of a previous newspaper report more than two years ago," a party spokesperson said.

"These were posted by a young man who has recognised they were not appropriate, apologised and sought to move on.

"Tyler is now more focused on raising his newborn daughter along with his partner and on working to represent the people of Bannside.”

Following the deaths of 39 Vietnamese immigrants found in the back of a lorry in Dover in October 2019, Mr Hoey posted a photograph of a trailer and added: "Trailer for sale serious offers only sleeps 39 people."

During the pandemic, he wrote: "If your one of these people bulk buying stuff because you think this 'coronvirus'...will wipe out the world, you need to take yourself to the electric chair to be gone with you."

Northern Ireland news