A DUP politician has said it would be “scandalous” for tourists to be left with a false impression of Northern Ireland thanks to biased tour guides.
Brian Kingston, who was the lord mayor of Belfast from 2016 to 2017, was reacting to a story covered by the News Letter in which an American tourist claimed that a black taxi driver had agreed to give him a tour of the city.
But instead of getting a fair account of both ‘sides’ of the Troubles, he said the driver had made extremely prejudiced comments about those from the unionist side of the divide, and offered a very biased picture of the city.
Brian Kingston said that this tourist’s “expose” of such behaviour had been “shocking and deeply worrying”.
“We are indebted to the visitor who took the time to highlight this,” said Alderman Kingston, a DUP councillor in north-west Belfast.
“Belfast will host over 100 cruise ships this year and I see with my own eyes how many passengers take part in taxi tours of the Shankill and north and west Belfast.
“It would be scandalous if tourists are leaving these shores with fantasy stories of bigotry rather than the positive image that most people are living in peace and want to get on with their neighbours.”
Drew Liquerman, a 21-year-old student who is chairman of Republicans Overseas Scotland (representing the US right-wing party) had recounted that the driver said Protestants fly Union Flags and Scottish Saltires “ because they have no culture of their own”.
Mr Liquerman also said that taxi driver had told him “Protestants hate anyone who’s not white and they refuse to have children with anyone who doesn’t share the same genes ... their gene pool is so small they are all like the people from Deliverance” – a reference to a 1972 film focused on thuggish yokels in the Deep South of the USA.