Sunday 23 October 2016

Immigrants? I have two dogs, don't need anymore lol: Politician apologises over Facebook comment

Published 06/09/2016 | 10:33

Ulster Unionist MLA Jenny Palmer
Ulster Unionist MLA Jenny Palmer

A politician has apologised over comments on social media which appeared to compare immigrants to dogs .

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The Stephen Nolan BBC radio programme reported how Ulster Unionist MLA Jenny Palmer admitted the comments may have appeared racist but they were not her views and she was attempting a joke.

The Lagan Valley representative made the remarks on Facebook.

It came after one user made an offensive comment in relation to stopping illegal immigrants with another questioning why an MLA had not taken immigrants into their own home.

The Nolan show reported that Jenny Palmer added: "I have two dogs, don't need anymore, thank you."

She ended her post with the text speak "lol" meaning laugh out loud.

When challenged by another user who said they were shocked by the comments she denied she was comparing refugees to dogs.

"Not at all perhaps bad grammar, just no room at 18a for anymore visitors  sorry you misunderstood and will try better," she responded.

The post has since been deleted.

In a statement to the Nolan show, Jenny Palmer said: "I would like first of all to apologise for any hurt that my careless words may have caused. These comments and actions do not reflect my own views.

"My words, made in reply to a Facebook comment, were intended as a joking remark regarding the busy-ness of my own home. The intention was to imply that between myself, my husband, our dogs and my daughter, we would struggle to accommodate anyone else. This was meant as a simple joke.

"However, as a later comment pointed out, my reply could easily have been misinterpreted as a racist or xenophobic comment. Particularly if taken without context or knowledge of my home.

"As soon as I was made aware of the offensive nature of the comment, I rectified my actions. I would again stress that those words do not reflect my viewpoint whatsoever.  My actions and comment were genuine mistakes.

"While these actions were mistakes, I take responsibility for them. As an elected official, I must hold myself to higher standards. I apologise unambiguously and will endeavour to ensure that my social media activity is more carefully considered in future."

The Ulster Unionist Party has been asked for a comment.

Belfast Telegraph

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