In Ireland, Council candidate calls other party “united ireland party” and “scum” on Facebook

Jordan Greer is a member of the Democratic United Party (DUP) in Ireland.  He’s in hot water this week over comments he made on a Facebook thread.

Greer is a candidate for Antrim-Newtownabbey Council, a local government, in Ireland.  Last week, posters for the rival Alliance Party began to appear in Ballyclare, prompting many to attack the party on a Facebook thread.  In response to another thread, Jordan Greer made this comment:

jordangreer

Greer’s comments were condemned by Alliance Party members, who called them “bigoted” and “ridiculous.”  More interestingly was that members of the DUP also condemned the comments and tried to distance the party from them.  Said Paul Girvan, a DUP member of the North Ireland Assembly:

These were Jordan’s own comments and not the view of the party. It’s not helpful calling people names and it’s not the type of politics I want to engage in.

Greer pulled down the comments and made no further statement.

There’s an added element here, one that American politics doesn’t usually have to deal with: that of violence.  Comments like these, as noted by Alliance leader David Ford, have, “directly led to violence on the streets over the past 18 months.”  The reference to a “united ireland” party is also a comment that is bound to cause controversy, as the country will always be embroiled in a debate about whether or not Northern Ireland should be part of Ireland or the U.K.  That issue, also referred to as “The Troubles,” has claimed hundreds of lives over multiple decades and remains a hot button issue in Ireland.

 

The lesson here, more than anything else, is cultural sensitivity.  Greer made a stupid, offhand comment that touched what is still a very raw nerve in Ireland and Northern Ireland.  Making off-hand, negative comments about the opposing party is bad enough, but doing so in a manner that touches on decades of racial conflict is far, far worse.  This is a great example of what never to do in politics!

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