A member of the Alliance Party’s ruling Executive has resigned after he made derogatory remarks about unionists on social media.
David Honeyford, from Glenavy, came under fire after he claimed on Twitter that “unionists have been bred to hate Catholics”.
Responding to a tweet by political commentator/writer Alex Kane – in which he claimed that anger towards the DUP in the wake of the RHI scandal “seems to be dissipating” ahead of the election next month – Mr Honeyford replied: “Tend to agree, unfortunately unionists have been bred to hate Catholics more than corruption. Pathetic really.”
Mr Honeyford has since apologised “without reservation” for any offence caused by his remarks.
He tweeted on Saturday: “It was a serious error in judgment and does not reflect either my views or the views of the party.”
An Alliance spokesperson confirmed that Mr Honeyford has resigned from his position in the wake of the incident.
The spokesperson told the News Letter: “Regardless of what he intended, David’s tweet was inappropriate and offensive. It was made in a personal capacity and does not reflect either his own views or the views of Alliance, nor the tone of debate we seek to promote.
“He apologised immediately on Twitter before issuing a fuller apology which made clear he did not intend to offend or insult anyone, and certainly was not representing the views of the party.
“After reflecting, David has resigned from Alliance Executive as he would not wish his tweet to be used to undermine the work of Alliance in building a more shared and united community, which he fully supports.”
DUP councillor Peter Martin said he had been “horrified” by Mr Honeyford’s remarks, adding: “The statement is simply blatant sectarianism, something the Alliance Party is always very willing to accuse unionists of.
“Just in case readers didn’t understand his sentiments he then repeated them again.
“In light of this, and other recent allegations of racism and ageism within the Alliance Party, people are beginning to realise they are definitely not the fluffy, warm and inviting party they like to present themselves as.”
Jenny Palmer, Lagan Valley UUP Assembly candidate, branded Mr Honeyford’s comments as “bewildering and distasteful”.
She told the News Letter: “I know David personally and I was shocked and disappointed by these disgraceful comments.
“I asked him to reflect on what he has said and to retract it, and I welcome the fact that he has since apologised for these remarks.”