Calls have been made for media commentator Jude Collins to apologise after “deranged and outrageous” comments on Twitter comparing the Boys Brigade to children participating in a masked dissident republican parade.
North Antrim DUP MLA Mervyn Storey said: “Jude Collins is a regular commentator on our local media, usually seeking to defend republicanism in any circumstances. However, attempting to draw parallels between children participating in a parade of masked terrorists a youth organisation such as the Boys’ Brigade is disgusting and outrageous.
“The origins of the uniform of the Boys’ Brigade, the inclusion of ‘Brigade’ in its name or the fact that activities such as drill have been part of the organisation can never justify any comparison with an illegal terrorist organisation.
“Far from recognising the offensive and inaccurate nature of his comments, Jude Collins has sought instead to dig deeper, penning a 750-word blog post attempting to further defending the indefensible.
Mr Collins made the comments after replying to images of a young girl and boy amongst masked republicans in the parade, which took place on Saturday, with an image of a Boys Brigade march and said “A bit like this, then.”
In a series of later tweets, he said: “Why is ‘brigade’ in its title? And why do they march, military style?”
“The BB is a ‘brigade’, it marches, it wears uniforms and berets...Odd echoes of something there…”
Later in a blog post, he said that the organisation had militaristic origins.
“I’m sure it’s true that the Boy Scouts and the Boys’ Brigade have developed from this early militarism, but it’s flying in the face of historical fact to go ballistic when someone suggests that at least in its origins, there might be military parallels.”
The Boys Brigade called on Mr Collins to withdraw his remarks and apologise.