War of words breaks out over posters

A WAR of words has broken out following the disappearance of a number of election posters at the weekend.

Placards featuring DUP Assembly candidate Brenda Hale, wife of the late Captain Mark Hale who was killed in Afghanistan in 2009, were allegedly removed from lamposts, with the party laying the blame at the door of local republicans.

The posters had been displayed in Kinallen, Dromara, Hillsborough and Ravarnet but were seemingly removed in recent days. Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson hit out at republicans, alleging they are responsible for what he called a “dirty tactic” ahead of May’s election.

“Over the past weekend the majority of election posters erected for Brenda Hale have been taken down by, we believe, Republican elements in the Kinallen, Hillsborough, Dromara and Ravarnet areas,” said Mr Donaldson.

“We believe republicans are deliberately targeting Brenda because she is a war widow and her husband served in the British Army. These are dirty tactics by republicans but show they are rattled at the prospect that Brenda can take the seat in Lagan Valley.

“The best response to this is for people to come out and support Brenda and increase the Unionist representation at Stormont at the expense of Sinn Fein.”

Mary Kate Quinn, Lagan Valley Assembly candidate for Sinn Fein, hit back at the comments. She refuted any allegations that her party were involved in removing election posters.

“Jeffrey Donaldson’s cheap tactic to score a headline is unfortunate and shows little regard for his colleague Brenda Hale,” said Ms Quinn. “Republicans were in no way responsible for the removal of these posters as they were out campaigning on real issues that affect people on an everyday basis.”

Ms Quinn suggested that perhaps the weather may have had something to do with the disappearance of posters.