MLAs Doug Beattie and Matthew O’Toole in public Twitter spat over NI Protocol - ‘leave your self righteousness behind for a moment’

MLAs Doug Beattie and Matthew O’Toole have engaged in a public social media row over the NI Protocol.

Thursday, 11th March 2021, 10:32 am
Doug Beattie

The conversation began after UUP man Beattie tweeted a link from the Irish Foreign Ministry about Simon Coveney briefing members of the US Congress about tensions between the UK and EU over Brexit.

Coveney and EU Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic spoke to the Friends of Ireland caucus on Wednesday, including its chairman, Congressman Richard Neal.

The group discussed Northern Ireland and concerns around the UK’s extension of post-Brexit grace periods.

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Matthew O'Toole

Doug Beattie tweeted in response: “It’s a tactic straight out of Trumps playbook. Tell a lie often enough and people will believe it is a truth.

“Even the Irish Seanad Éireann BREXIT Committee agreed yesterday that the Protocol damaged the Belfast Agreement.”

SDLP MLA O’Toole responded within minutes: “Doug, with respect, @uuponline has now pushed out multiple made up yarns about the protocol, including that it inhibited the movement of military equipment and car insurance. Both untrue. I’d suggest your party reflect on it’s own fact checking capacity before throwing stones.”

Mr Beattie fired back his reponse.

“Not true Matthew. You may wish to feel you are the only person with an understanding of what’s going on but you aren’t. If you leave your self righteousness behind for a moment you’ll see a welcome engagement.”

The SDLP man responded: “I’m certainly not righteous, and try not to be self-righteous... And always happy to engage!”