Those calling me a traitor to my country are not the people I stood beside in battle, says Doug Beattie

The Ulster Unionist Party leader has hit back at those who called him a traitor at the anti Protocol rally in Lurgan on Friday night.

Doug Beattie MC MLA issued a statement about the description of him as a “lundy” and the appearance of a poster which was left of him with a double-knotted noose around his neck.

“I am no Lundy and I am no traitor,” said Mr Beattie, who was a captain in the Royal Irish Regiment.

“Those who make those cowardly remarks will not bully me or any of my party activists from doing what is right to create a better society in Northern Ireland and strengthen Northern Ireland’s place within the United Kingdom.

Ulster Unionist Party leader Doug Beattie MC MLA, who was a captain in the Royal Irish Regiment

“Those who called me a lundy and traitor or put a double-knotted noose around my neck on a poster, are not the people who stood beside me in battle.

“They are not the people who I served alongside who were some of the finest men and women who have ever donned the Queen’s uniform, as we literally bled blood, sweat and tears in the heat of battle, in the service of our country.”

Captain Beattie continued: “So someone standing on a stage, ranting from a podium, delivering a politically motivated speech to attack my commitment to my country won’t bully or intimidate me, or my party, from driving forward and looking to the future rather than leading unionism back to the past.

“Whether it’s a poster with a double-knotted noose around my neck — that will end up in the bin — or a broken window in my office — I’ll get that fixed — I won’t be deflected from doing what is in the best interests of Northern Ireland and its people.

Posters of Doug Beattie as Sir Jeffrey Donaldson spoke at an anti protocol rally and parade in Lurgan on Friday night. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

“A minority shout the loudest and make a lot of noise as they seek to raise temperatures and create instability in Northern Ireland, but I believe the silent majority in Northern Ireland will want no truck with those comments and will despair at the type of leadership it represents for unionism.”

He added: “Unionism deserves better — Northern Ireland deserves better.”

While the Ulster Unionist leader decided to attend no more anti-Protocol mass protests, because they were “raising tensions”, his running mate for the UUP in Upper Bann said he would participate in the Lurgan demonstration.

Glenn Barr, the current Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council, said he would be in Lurgan as a member of his local Orange lodge.

Doug Beattie said he would not be bullied nor any of his party activists "from doing what is right to create a better society in Northern Ireland"

Alderman Barr insisted yesterday that the UUP had told him he was free to take part in the rally. UUP sources told the News Letter that so long as the Banbridge councillor did not speak on the platform he was entitled to attend.

Doug Beattie, seen in his soldiering days, said: "Those who called me a lundy and traitor or put a double-knotted noose around my neck on a poster, are not the people who stood beside me in battle"
Ulster Unionist Party leader Doug Beattie MC MLA, who was a captain in the Royal Irish Regiment