DUP 'not intimidated' by death threats

Published Tuesday, 11 December 2012
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DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson has confirmed he and Edwin Poots have received death threats, which he says police are treating "very seriously".

DUP 'not intimidated' by death threats
DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson at the party conference in 2011 (© Presseye)

The Lagan Valley representative is the second MP from Northern Ireland to have his life threatened in the past week.

Mr Donaldson was informed by police that his life and the lives of his wife and children were at risk on Tuesday.

He said: "Police this morning received a serious threat to the effect that myself, my wife and children and my colleague Edwin Poots, his wife and children would be shot and the police are treating this threat very seriously."

Mr Donaldson said he was appalled by the threat.

"Whatever they may think of my politics as a unionist and someone who is proud to be British, it is beyond belief that people would target my wife and children in this way," he said.

I won't be intimidated by these threats, just as I have not been intimidated by such threats in the past but this is the first time my family has been threatened in this way.

Jeffrey Donaldson, DUP Lagan Valley MP

Mr Donaldson said he had consistently condemned threats against elected representatives in the past.

"Regardless of where these threats may have emanated from, this is an assault on democracy itself and when people resort to violence or threat of violence against democratically elected politicians then we really have gotten to a very low ebb," he added.

Mr Poots, who serves as Health Minister in the Northern Ireland Executive and is an MLA for Lagan Valley, says dissident republicans are behind the threats.

"It is not something that is new to them but it is something we will resist," he said.

Both Mr Donaldson and Mr Poots have voiced their strong opposition after the flying of the Union Flag was restricted at Belfast City Hall last week.

East Belfast MP Naomi Long was also threatened after the Alliance amendment reducing the number of days the Union Flag flies over City Hall was passed.

Earlier on Tuesday, First Minister Peter Robinson revealed two senior DUP members had been informed of the danger by police.

"Many of our members have been under death threat for a very long period of time so we take it seriously and we empathise with anybody who is under threat," the DUP leader told UTV.

Mr Robinson also condemned the latest loyalist street violence, branding those who are behind the trouble the "enemies of the people".

"This is terrorism. This is a despicable act on the part of those involved and they have no right to call themselves loyalists and be attacking the forces of the state," Mr Robinson told UTV.

The threats against Jeffrey Donaldson, Edwin Poots and their families are wrong and should be withdrawn immediately.

Martin McGuinness, Deputy First Minister

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said all threats against democratically elected representatives should be withdrawn immediately.

"There is no justification for this type of intimidation from any grouping or organisation.

"These are the latest in a series of threats against elected representatives since the beginning of the loyalist protests against the decision of Belfast City Council over a week ago.

"Threats remain against other representatives. Each and everyone of these need to be lifted immediately."

Alliance leader David Ford said he extended "support and solidarity of the Alliance Party" to the DUP members.

"Any threat to a political representative is an attack on democracy. The threats, intimidation and attacks that we have seen against members of my party as well as those of the DUP and Sinn Féin must stop now."

Speaking in the House of Commons on Tuesday before news of the latest threats emerged, Northern Ireland Secretary of State Theresa Villiers told MPs: "The right of elected representatives to go about their daily business without the threat or fear of intimidation is one of the hallmarks of our democracy.

"And the actions of those who carry out such threats are nothing less than an attack on democracy."

© UTV News
Comments Comments
7 Comments
Conor in Belfast wrote (628 days ago):
absolutely disgusted by this. These past few weeks have really sickened my feelings towards this backwatered excuse for a country. It's about time people on both sides decided to grow up and respect each other's views and opinions without resorting to violence. If this keeps uo i'd give serious thought to quitting my job and this co calles great 'wee country'.
SHORT STRAND MAN in belfast wrote (629 days ago):
while i hope NO harm comes to mr donaldson or mr poots or any of their families can peter robinson explain why he reveals these death threats now but didn't reveal previous threats? maybe its his attempt to take the focus of continuing law breaking and murderous attacks by his community.
Bryan in Dublin wrote (629 days ago):
It's totally unacceptable the intimidation and threats to the politicians that work extremely hard for the public and whom they represent in there constituencies! I do have an opinion that everyone in NI should should be united under one flag and be represented in a shared society without having anyone's identity taken away from them, respect for culture and traditions I believe is the future to stability and peace or should I say looking at the big picture I believe this should be the priority of everyone in NI to vote in a referendum to agree on a flag and symbols. I don't believe violence and threats to public officials and destroying Belfast because of the UJ flying for a limited amount of days is the answer I understand feelings run high because people may feel there identity is under threat. But common sense has to prevail, I really do feel the PSNI have a really difficult job trying to police this situation and now politicians under threat is very sad news I post this thread to say I want a peaceful NI without anyone's identity being taken away from them! I read the story about the dup Cllr Bush in Dungannon his property all being smashed up and other politicians property being smashed up I mean this is awful and the people doing this don't represent the views of the vast majority of people living in NI.
Matthew in Donegal wrote (629 days ago):
This suitation must be having a very negative effect on Christmas shopping. Alot of people from my area have cancelled shopping trips to Belfast because they are afraid of getting caught up in something. Matt.
Irish man in North of Ireland wrote (629 days ago):
@Colin, the only reason people in Ardoyne are rioting is because a racist cult on par with the KKK are allowed to triumphantly march past their homes. Had this been stopped from day one than its likely nationalists would feel as bad about the Union flag... The truth is, we don’t hate the Union flag because it represents Wales, England and Scotland (many Irish people live in these places and have no problem with it) we dislike it because everywhere we go, its shoved down our throats and uses by Unionists to try and show their superiority over our people. Call it culture all you like but ask yourself, how would you feel if I walked through your estate with a tri-colour?
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