Saturday, 9 May 2015

Labour councillor re-tweets post linking SNP to Irish terrorists

A North Ayrshire Labour councillor who previously used social media to call the SNP “UKIP in tartan trews” caused further controversy shortly before last week’s UK Election by re-tweeting a post that stated “vote SNP, get IRA”.

By re-tweeting the offensive post to his 669 ‘followers’, Largs-based councillor Alex Gallagher appeared to endorse the sentiment that the party forming Scotland’s democratically-elected government could somehow be equated with an Irish terrorist organisation.

The poster of the original tweet tried to link the SNP with the IRA after a Scotland-based Irish republican flute band – the James Connolly 1st Republican Flute Band – marched past George Square in Glasgow while a pro-Scottish independence rally was taking place.

However, the SNP had nothing to do with the pro-independence rally, which was arranged and run by an organisation called Hope Over Fear, a movement closely linked with Solidarity, a left-wing political party led by former MSP Tommy Sheridan.

The march by the James Connolly 1st Republican Flute Band was celebrating the 40th anniversary of the band having been formed in Glasgow and had nothing to do with the Hope Over Fear rally.  The route of the band’s parade was approved by Labour-controlled Glasgow City Council.

The tweet re-posted by Cllr Gallagher also received backing from far-right and protestant sectarian organisations, which attempted to conflate the two separate events in Glasgow, with one Twitter poster stating, “the SNP brought the IRA to Glasgow’s streets”.

The full post re-tweeted by the Largs councillor read:  “How anyone can vote SNP after yesterday’s performance is beyond me, vote SNP, get IRA #SNPout”.

The Twitter account of the person behind the tweet that was re-sent by Alex Gallagher shows the individual has previously posted his support for the far-right United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), has re-tweeted posts from Tommy Robinson (former leader of the fascist English Defence League) and has also posted support for Glasgow Rangers and Chelsea Football Club.  Another of his posts shows a British Union flag with the acronym “WATP” (We Are The People).  The account also carries a grossly-offensive anti-Islam post depicting the Prophet Muhammad.

Cllr Gallagher has not responded to previous requests from the3towns.today, which asked him to explain comments he has posted or re-posted on social media.

At last week’s election the Labour Party was virtually wiped-off the political map of Scotland, losing all but one of its seats to the SNP.  The North Ayrshire & Arran constituency, where Alex Gallagher is a Labour activist, saw a massive 23.3% swing from Labour to the SNP.

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