MLA posted on racist Facebook thread

Jenny Palmer won an extra seat for the Ulster Unionists in Lagan Valley, at last May's Assembly election.  The former councillor previously resigned from the DUP, after alleging she had been bullied during a controversy over Housing Executive maintenance contracts.

The MLA quickly caused a headache for her new party by becoming involved in a row about migrants trying to cross the English Channel.  She was accused of writing a Facebook post which compared them to dogs.

Palmer quickly apologised and explained that her comment was a poorly worded joke, which, on the surface, seemed reasonable.  However, she had replied on a thread started by a poster who made a shockingly racist comment about 'beating niggers' out from under a bus.

Why on earth would an MLA become involve in a discussion which opened with such an unpleasant remark, unless she intended to challenge its racism?  This wasn't just an instance of someone taking offence too quickly, where none was intended.  At the very least, it was a major error in judgement by Jenny Palmer, at worst it showed ambivalence to bigotry.

Taking the kindlier view, it still raises issues about the wildly inconsistent calibre of MLAs at Stormont.



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