Ulster Unionist leader Doug Beattie has suggested that Arlene Foster was “malicious” in her criticism of the media for what she described as “intense coverage” of Sinn Féin’s meetings with Britain’s King Charles III.
All news outlets focused on the new monarch’s meeting with First Minister-elect Michelle O’Neill and her party colleague, Assembly Speaker Alex Maskey, during their meeting in Northern Ireland on Tuesday.
Writing in The Express, Ms Foster suggested that “if you think the visit is about her, you can be forgiven [Sinn Fein] and not to mark the death of our sovereign and the first visit of her successor”.
Speaking to the BBC’s Nolan Show on Thursday, Mr Beattie said: “If anyone thought that Sinn Fein would not be heavily scrutinized by the media for shaking hands with our new king, or a Sinn Fein spokesman’s words of condolences pronounce — if people didn’t realize that was going to be the case, so I’m not sure what they were thinking.
“I suppose we all look at things in a different way and from a different perspective and Arlene Foster gave that perspective,” the Upper Bann MLA added.
“I’m pretty clear in my perspective and what I’ve seen is compassion across all political parties here in Northern Ireland and they’ve been incredibly respectful. I think it would be mean to criticize someone for being respectful.”
“We are here because of the position we are in, we have no government. We should have held the King’s meeting in Parliament and the First Minister and Deputy First Minister should have given the King their condolences, but we are not in that situation so we had to think of something else.
“I haven’t seen anyone disrespectful in these political circles and that’s what I’ll focus on,” he continued.
Ms Foster wrote: “Inside the [Hillsborough] Castle, the politicians had gathered and there was a lot (far too much in my opinion) talked about the meeting between Sinn Fein members and the new king.
“For anyone covering and knowing Northern Ireland this isn’t really big news as Sinn Fein members have met both the late Queen and the new King on many occasions.
“Sinn Féin coverage has become so intense in some mainstream programs that you would be forgiven for thinking the visit concerned you and not the death of our sovereign and the first visit of her successor!”
Separately, TUV leader Jim Allister criticized the BBC for its coverage of King Charles III’s visit.
BBC NI declined to respond to Mr Allister’s comments.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/its-mean-spirited-to-criticise-anyone-for-being-respectful-doug-beattie-reacts-to-arlene-foster-slamming-coverage-of-sinn-fein-meeting-king-charles-41992235.html “It’s mean to criticize someone for being respectful” – Doug Beattie reacts to Arlene Foster criticizing the coverage of Sinn Féin’s meeting with King Charles