Beattie makes formal complaint about second Martina Anderson tweet

Ulster Unionist MLA Doug Beattie MC has made a formal complaint about a second tweet by Martina Anderson, which he believes is designed to discourage people from a nationalist background applying for the Victims Payment Scheme (VPS).

Doug Beattie MC MLA said:

“Today I have made a formal complaint to the Northern Ireland Assembly Commissioner for Standards and Privileges in respect to two tweets from Martina Anderson MLA.  I am fully aware that at present there is no commissioner in post, however this complaint will be looked at when a new commissioner is appointed.

“My complaint centres around the initial crass, callous and insulting tweet by Martina Anderson aimed at innocent victims of the Troubles and the delivery of the Victims Payment Scheme (VPS). Although that tweet has been deleted and an apology has been issued, the remarks have created huge and lasting hurt on both sides of the Irish border. Where I was willing to accept that mistakes can be made, I was then confronted with a second tweet, which in my eyes is as equally as bad as the first and in some ways even more harmful. That second tweet said:

“All Victims should qualify for the pension

It reflects the Brit Gov policy & only its narrative of the conflict

It’s given legal protection to Brit armed forces who killed or injured or tortured Irish citizens during the conflict

NO to Discrimination Criminalisation Exclusion”

“The reason this is so incredibly harmful is that Ms Anderson is stating that the VPS is an extension of UK Government Policy and only reflects its narrative of the Troubles. This could lead to those who are entitled to this pension and who come from a nationalist background, not applying for it, simply because they believe the Sinn Fein propaganda line and believe that if they do apply, they are supporting UK policy and the UK’s narrative of the Troubles. This is damaging to all communities and it is obviously false.

“It deliberately ignores the fact that innocent people who were seriously injured by the police or the military are as entitled to this pension as those injured by terrorists during the Troubles. To apply for the pension does not mean you are supporting any narrative of the Troubles and certainly does not mean you are supporting UK policy. The pension is clear- it acknowledges all sections of the community with long term, life limiting injuries caused during the Troubles and only omits those from all communities who injured themselves whilst undertaking an illegal action.

“My second complaint is around the false statement that British Armed Forces will receive legal protections though this VPS legislation. I challenge Sinn Fein to show where those legal protections are. This is creating division, it is deliberate in doing so, and that is against the code of conduct we should expect of any MLA.

“I am in no doubt what the aim of Sinn Fein is through their MLA Martina Anderson.  It is to prevent people from within the nationalist community from applying for a pension which many will be entitled to and deserve, in order to create a false narrative that this is a pension for one community only.  They do this for political gain and to perpetuate division.  The Ulster Unionist Party will not allow that to happen and will not allow Sinn Fein’s warped narrative to go unchecked.  Martina Anderson cannot backtrack on this last tweet, the media cannot ignore what she is doing and she must resign forthwith.”

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