Politicians speak out to condemn threats against UUP woman

Assembly candidate Jenny Palmer has received widespread support after she was subjected to online threats and abuse following last week's election result.

Jenny Palmer

The UUP woman, who lost her place at Stormont, was accused of splitting unionism in Lagan Valley after the SDLP’s Pat Catney secured enough transfers to take the final seat at the expense of the DUP’s Brenda Hale.

Despite Mrs Palmer having no say over who voters decide to transfer their personal votes to, she was branded a “Lundy” on social media and told to get out of Culcavy.

Condemning the intimidation, her UUP running mate, Robbie Butler, posted on Facebook: “Nothing in life, not even politics warrants or should tolerate the despicable treatment that people including my friend Jenny Palmer are subjected to. I hope all my fellow MLAs and all LCCC councillors give voice in condemnation of this.”

Alliance MLA Trevor Lunn said no-one should have to put up with online trolling and abuse.

“Elected representatives must take a strong stance against all forms of intimidation. Jenny has been an excellent public representative for many years and does not deserve this kind of treatment,” he commented.

Describing the threats against Mrs Palmer and her husband as “unacceptable”, DUP MLA Edwin Poots said: “Having been the victim myself of faceless individuals who believe they can threaten people from the safety of their own rooms behind a keyboard, I would urge police to take action to identify the individuals.

“I don’t think it’s acceptable that people can carry out threats on social media with impunity and hope the perpetrators of these threats will be caught and punished.”

Mrs Palmer’s defiant response to the threats against her prompted local UUP Councillor Alexander Redpath to post on Facebook: “Jenny Palmer again shows the courage and determination that has defined her political life. Honoured to call her a colleague.”

Voicing his support for his party colleague, South Antrim MP Danny Kinahan said: “I am disgusted by the cowards who have attempted to intimidate Jenny Palmer and her family in Lagan Valley.

“The comments made against Jenny and her husband on social media are beneath contempt and I unreservedly condemn them.”