Tweet from official Alliance Party account sparks reaction across the political spectrum

The now deleted tweet was sent by the official Alliance Party account on Thursday night.

A tweet that was released on the Alliance Party’s official Twitter ( account on Thursday night has provoked reaction from a range of political representatives across Northern Ireland.

The tweet has since been deleted, but it reads: “Here @eugenereid – weird how you’re publicly slabbering about our reps and blocking us on social media. Want us to share your embarrassing little secret from the other week? Or do your colleagues in the SDLP already know?”

Eugene Reid was an SDLP councillor on Mid & East Antrim Borough Council but failed to get elected in the May 2023 election.

According to the Belfast Telegraph, the tweet released by the Alliance Party related to Eugene Reid’s bid to join the Alliance Party earlier this month, but his application to join was rejected.

Eugene Reid released this tweet yesterday, which seemed to have prompted the tweet from the Alliance Party.

Reid’s tweet refers to the resignation of John Hyland from his role as a councillor on Mid & East Antrim Borough Council as he returns to Liverpool for personal reasons.

An Alliance Party spokesperson said: “This was a light-hearted way of addressing continual derogatory trolling and baiting of our elected representatives by this individual, including yesterday.

“However, we appreciate humour doesn’t always translate on social media, hence the post being deleted.”

Eugene Reid spoke to Love Ballymena and said: “I genuinely had a conversation with a very good friend and community leader on Thursday evening. I have worked with her, and continue to do so, to deliver change for some of the most vulnerable and forgotten communities in my town.

“She expressed concern and annoyance at elected representatives leaving their positions.

“I am not, and never have “trolled” any politician from any particular party. My record shows that I call out anyone whom I think is not delivering as per their position as a public servant.

“I am sure that the public can make up their own minds with respect to the tweet from The Alliance Party. “Light hearted” it certainly was not.”

The SDLP MLA for South Belfast, Matthew O’Toole, released a tweet on Friday night giving his views on the tweet.

The DUP MP for Upper Bann, Carla Lockhart, released a statement on Friday which said: “Online bullying is a problem which has impacted representatives from every party, including Alliance. In most cases such posts are from anonymous trolls, rather than from an official Party account.

“This post appears to be a clear attempt to bully or intimidate a member of another party with a threat to expose an “embarrassing little secret”. Given the message has now been deleted we deserve an explanation. Does the Alliance Party make a habit of holding such information about others, and why would someone in their Party feel that it is acceptable to make such an insinuation either publicly or privately.

“Naomi Long has said in the past “social media needs to do better. Bullies need to be held accountable”. She was quite right, but is the Alliance Party prepared to be held accountable in this instance? It is right that we call on social media companies to do more, but responsibility lies too with those who decide to send late-night abusive tweets, even if they do delete them in the morning.”

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