There have been attempts since Tom Elliott’s Count Centre rant to suggest he was provoked by republicans heckling him during his speech. Gregory Campbell on Seven Days today claimed Tom was “under pressure” at the count, whilst Elliott himself pointed during his Noel Thompson interview to the fact that he was being heckled by republicans.
The facts, however, very clearly (and audibly) suggest otherwise.
His speech continued amidst silence until the initial insult was delivered regarding the Irish National flag.
I’ve added a transcript from the Noel Thompson interview with Tom Elliott immediately following the comments, also added below:
TE: …..I see many people here with flags today, some of them with flags from a foreign nation. (cue unionist cheers/ republican jeers.) And I must say, I’m also, I’m also, I will expect nothing better from the scum of Sinn Fein than to come out like this, to be actually, yes, their counterparts in the IRA have murdered our citizens…..
Start of interview (NT- Noel Thompson, TE- Tom Elliott)
NT: Mr Elliott have you lost the run of yourself. That’s an extraordinary statement for you to make at this stage, surely?
TE: What is the extraordinary statement Noel?
NT: What can I expect from Sinn Fein scum were the words we just heard you say.
TE: Yes, and you heard how they were heckling and lobbying and I have to say that’s not something you expect at a democratic vote count here but that’s how it was. Let’s not forget I want to remember…
(cue verbal wrangling between the two during which Thompson tried to ask question but Elliott talked over him.)
NT: What happened was you said there were people waving foreign flags, they cheered and you called them scum.
NT: Are you happy with that?
TE: I am, quite obviously or I wouldn’t have said that. These people were waving flags of a foreign nation. Is anybody denying that it is a foreign nation?
It is worth noting that Peter Robinson was draped in a Union Flag at his own Count Centre whilst Union Flags and Irish Tricolours were to be seen at most of the count centres during the day.