A FORMER DUP deputy Lord Mayor of Belfast has apologised after branding senior Sinn Fein figures as ‘scum, evil, devious..who bombed and murdered their way to power”.
Councillor Ruth Patterson made the apology after the DUP intervened when her comments on Facebook made it into the public domain.
Sinn Fein had called her comments “shocking” and highly dangerous and also called on the DUP to distance itself from the remarks.
The DUP said in a statement issued on Thursday afternoon: “Ruth’s comment was completely unacceptable.
“It is not in keeping with the party’s policies or the standard of behaviour required of our members.”
However, it is not known if Councillor Ruth Patterson will face any internal disciplinary procedures for her social network outburst.
But the party statement added: “Whilst the officers of the party will clearly be looking at this issue, they will take account of her subsequent statement.”
In her statement, the councillor said: “I unreservedly apologise for this lapse of judgement. I completely withdraw this flawed Facebook comment.’
“Murder and terrorism can never be justified in any circumstances.
“My ill-judged comment is completely incompatible with the polices of the DUP and what is expected of me as Councillor.”
Earlier in the day relations between the DUP and Sinn Fein hit a new low following her comments.
The Belfast City Councillor branded Sinn Fein MLAs as “evil”.
And she said a bomb attack on an IRA commemoration parade next month would “do a great service to Northern Ireland” if it wiped out its leadership.
The councillor made her comments following a post on Facebook which imagined an attack on Sunday, August 11 in Castlederg, Co Tyrone which killed scores of people, including Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness, and injured hundreds of others.
The remarks came after DUP leader Peter Robinson and Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuinness fell out in public over the parade.
The First Minister branded the ‘Tyrone Volunteers Commemoration’ parade as “glorifying terrorism”.
On Thursday, relations between the parties nosedived further when Councillor Ruth Patterson penned on Facebook: “Who cares how you would be judged.
“We would have done a great service to Northern Ireland and the world getting rid of these evil, devious, scum like individuals who bombed and murdered their way into government, who walk the corridors of power leaving their blood stained hand prints on everything they touch.”
The remarks prompted fury from Sinn Fein MLA Barry McElduff.
He called on the DUP to distance itself from Ruth Patterson’s comments.
Barry McElduff said: “This is a shocking comment from an elected representative who is endorsing the slaughter of people attending the parade by machine-guns, rocket-launchers and grenades.
“This type of talk is totally irresponsible and highly dangerous. Is Ruth Patterson advocating a Michael Stone style attack on a peaceful parade? It certainly appears so and we need to hear from the DUP as to whether they support this opinion.
“As has been shown in the past, comments made by political representatives and others can not only inflame a situation but actually motivate people to act on their words.
“Belfast City Council, of which Ruth Patterson is a member, should be looking at this and acting accordingly.
“Ruth Patterson has, by these comments and recent utterances, shown that she has no interest in building a peaceful future but is more interested in stirring hatred, division and whipping up hysteria.”