“Deplorable” | Health Minister Robin Swann under threat
It has emerged that Health Minister Robin Swann has been contacted by police advising him to review his security arrangements due to new threats made against him.
Ulster Unionist leader, Doug Beattie MC MLA, released a statement on Thursday (30 October) labelling the threats “deplorable”.
Mr Beattie said:
“Free speech is a cornerstone of a democratic society. However free speech does not extend to making threats against public figures including politicians. It is deplorable.
“People can disagree with each other, but where that disagreement means that people are directly threatened or intimidated then the law must step in and take action. It is also beholden on all politicians to be mindful of their language.
“What politicians say can stir up some of the most sinister elements in our society.
“In the last few days, my friend and colleague Robin Swann has been contacted by the PSNI in relation to threats made against him and now has to review his security arrangements again. What sort of society are we becoming where Northern Ireland's Health Minister is now having to deal with yet more threats and intimidation?
“This isn't the first time Robin has had to deal with this. He has received death threats in the last eighteen months against both him and his family, and now this latest threat. In the last 24 hours, I have read yet more vile online comments directed at Robin.
“Not only is Robin Northern Ireland's Health Minister. he is also a husband and a father. Until you walk in his shoes through the midst of the worst public health crisis that has faced our society in a hundred years, maybe consider what you say and how you say it.
“Be it Robin Swann, a nurse or domestic, a doctor or a porter, the NHS is a team top to bottom and a threat to one is a threat to all.
“Robin Swann stepped up to take this job when others didn't. I have seen up close his commitment and dedication to the NHS and its staff, and indeed the toll that the role has taken on him personally.
"Social media giants need to do an awful lot more to clamp down on online abuse and threats. Some things are more important than their profits.”
Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill has spoken of her support for the Health Minister, saying:
“The threats made against Robin Swann are to be utterly condemned. They are despicable and have no place in a civilised society. Sending solidarity and support to Robin and to his family.”