DUP accuses TUV of having a ‘personal vendetta’ against……..loyalist paramilitaries

Yes, you read that right.

The West Belfast DUP Facebook page has caused quite the stir today after accusing a TUV councillor of having a personal vendetta against loyalist paramilitaries.

The TUV councillor in question, Andrew Girvin, had commented on Facebook that he wondered “how many SFIRA election transfers will be given to DUPUDA.”

That prompted the following reply on the West Belfast DUP Facebook page:

Seen this on social media it seems the TUV have a personal vendetta not only with the DUP but now loyalist paramilitaries

The DUP candidate in West Belfast is Frank McCoubrey, formerly of the UDA-aligned Ulster Democratic Party and then Ulster Political Research Group. McCoubrey came close to claiming a seat last year, but with the reduction in Assembly seats from 6 to 5 per constituency, his hopes have all but disappeared this year.

The post was picked up on by the ever eagle-eyed Sam McBride of the News Letter, and the Alliance Party have already issued a statement on the post through their East Antrim representative, Stewart Dickson:

Alliance East Antrim candidate Stewart Dickson has called on the DUP to clarify after it appeared to accuse another party of having a “personal vendetta” against loyalist paramilitaries.

Mr Dickson was speaking after the West Belfast DUP page made a post referring to a TUV statement asking “how many SFIRA transfers will be given to DUPUDA”. The DUP page replied to say “it seems the TUV have a personal vendetta not only with the DUP but now loyalist paramilitaries”.

It follows loyalist leader Jackie McDonald endorsing DUP leader Arlene Foster.

Mr Dickson said it appeared the DUP had now “returned the favour”.

“It seems the DUP have an issue with people having a problem with loyalist paramilitaries. It is 2017 – paramilitaries should no longer even exist. Yet we have a political party appearing to return the favour of a UDA endorsement by getting upset over people criticising that same group.

“Does the DUP welcome the support of paramilitaries? The electorate deserves to know, so we should all be told. We have rightly seen outrage about millions in public money going to Charter NI, where the Chief Executive Officer boasted about his involvement with ‘homeland security’. While Charter continues to do some good work, the DUP and paramilitary link remains a massive question mark over both organisations.

“Arlene Foster had predicted this election would be brutal. Is she content to have the support of paramilitaries who have been responsible for many acts of brutality?”