The Ulster Unionist Party leader Doug Beattie has apologised after he was criticised for using racist and misogynistic language in a number of tweets from approximately ten years ago.
In a lengthy interview on BBC Radio Ulster’s Stephen Nolan Show on Tuesday morning Mr Beattie was asked to respond to some of the tweets, which included tweets about women and members of the Travelling community.
Asked about the tweets about women, which included sexualised comments, he said “I will absolutely accept that my tweets were misogynistic … I am not a misogynist, they were misogynistic joke.”
He said he was “deeply sorry, and apologise to everybody, the whole of society, but certainly to women who may feel let down by myself.”
Asked about a tweet from 2011 which defined men as having two traits, “hungry and horny”, he said it was “not funny, it’s not right” and he would have to stand in front of the women in his party and explain it to them.”
He was also asked about a number of tweets which used a derogatory term for the Travelling community, including a tweet from 2011 in which he wrote “today is my last day in my old house and my first day in my new house. That’s 16 moves in 25 years and I’m not even a p****!”
Mr Beattie said: “It was wrong. It was attempted humour and I was attempting to use humour, in some cases I was disparaging about myself in using that humour, again if we are going back to that time then clearly I was using something that was wrong. I’ve moved on from that.”
In an answer to another tweet in 2013 about the use of the ‘n-word’ in the film Django Unchained, Mr Beattie responded that “In The Dambusters Richard Todd’s dog was called N*****. Certainly not designed as an insult.”
Mr Beattie said “what I was trying to do was enter a conversation, that conversation was that we used words in the past which would not be acceptable today and this is one of those words.”
Asked if he denied he was a racist, Mr Beattie said: “I’m not a racist, I’m simply not a racist in any shape or form.”
He was also asked about a tweet from 2012 in which he said “what’s needed is a few crazies sorting out mental health strategy. They’ll understand the problem without knowing they have one.”
“It’s bad, it’s awful,” he said. “I don’t know what was going through my head to write that in the manner that I was writing that … I think what I was trying to say is that those people who suffer from mental health issues are the people who are best placed to design the support they require and I wrote it in the worst way possible and there’s no excuse for that.”
Another tweet read out to Mr Beattie said: “I had a Gurkha company under my charge for three years. They drink lots, gamble all the time and like white hookers.”
Mr Beattie responded: It’s terrible, it’s terrible, and I can’t believe that I would put something like that out there, but I did. I don’t believe it is true.
“It’s horrendous … I did it and it was wrong to do it. It’s not a reflection of me then and it’s certainly not a reflection of me now.”
He said he had not witnessed Gurkhas using prostitutes and “it comes from a crass attempt at humour and it’s that dark humour which I seem to have used in that period ten years ago … it is extremely demeaning.”
Asked about a retweet of a Guardian article from 2012, to which he added the comment “English fans at #euro2012 upset British muslims by dressing as knights. Always the victim – its not always about you”, he said it was “in a different context.
“That particular tweet was about English fans dressing as Crusaders, and they’ve done that as a long, long time in the same way as others dress in other similar veins, whether they are as Vikings … and the point I was trying to make was they are not doing this to try and offend anybody this is just the way they dress in order to support their team.
“People shouldn’t look for outrage in regard to that. I have defended Islam, I have defended the Muslim faith … I will completely refute anybody who thinks I have an issue with Islam or about Muslims and that I am racist in that regard, it’s just simply not true.”
In response to a tweet from 2013 in regard to the situation in Syria in which he said “French resolve will crumble… I’m not anti-French but those garlic munching frogs can’t be trusted”, Mr Beattie said “my choice of language is just totally unacceptable in any shape or form.
“I’ll not be the first person to do or say something wrong … what’s important is you stand up and face your past and I’m standing up and facing what I did wrong in my past,” he said.
Census 2022 – what difference does it make?
Next Sunday, April 3rd, is Census night. Millions of people in homes countrywide will fill in page after page of questions, some of which are deeply personal and many of which might be unfamiliar.
But what it is it all about?
At a basic level, Census 2022 will be used to inform planning of public policy and services in the years ahead, according to the Central Statistics Office.
The questions will cover a range of environmental, employment and lifestyle issues, including the use of renewable energy sources in homes.
The questions will help inform policy development in the areas of energy and climate action, and the prevalence of internet access, to understand the availability of and need for internet connections and range of devices used to access the internet.
Questions also focus on changes in work patterns and will include the trend of working from home and childcare issues, while questions are also asked about the times individuals usually leave work, education or childcare, to help identify and plan for transport pattern needs locally and nationally.
Other topics covered include volunteering and the type of organisations volunteers choose to support, tobacco usage and the prevalence of smoke alarms in the home.
And of course there is a time capsule – the chance to write something which will be sealed for the next 100 years.
Oscars 2022: Will Smith makes Oscar history after slapping Chris Rock over joke about wife Jada Pinkett Smith | Culture
Will Smith took the Oscar for Best Actor at last night’s 94th Academy Awards, but he also became the protagonist of the ceremony for other reasons. The night was following the script, until Smith slapped comedian Chris Rock on the stage after the latter made a joke about the shaved head of the former’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. Rock had quipped that he was “looking forward to GI Jane 2,” in reference to her look. Pinkett Smith has revealed publicly that she has alopecia. It looked as if the moment had been planned, until Smith went back to his seat and shouted: “Get my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth.”
The moment, which immediately became Oscar history but for all the wrong reasons, left the attendees with frozen smiles, and asking themselves whether it was possible that a veteran such as Smith could have lost his cool in front of tens of millions of people. After taking the prize for Best Actor, the superstar actor made a tearful apology, saying that he hoped the Academy “will invite me back.” Later on, actor Anthony Hopkins called for “peace and love,” but it was already too late. The incident overshadowed the success of CODA, which took the Oscar for Best Picture. Just like the time when Warren Beatty mistakenly named La La Land as the big winner of the night, no one will speak about anything else from last night’s awards.
At first sight, Smith’s actions looked as if they were scripted. When he first heard Rock’s joke, he laughed. But his wife was seen on camera rolling her eyes, and it was then that the actor got up onto the stage and hit Rock. When he returned to his seat he raised his voice twice to shout “Get my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth,” sending a wave of unease and shock through the attending audience. The fact that he used the f-word, which is prohibited on US television, set alarm bells ringing that this was real and not a planned moment. In fact, the curse word was censored by the broadcaster, ABC, in the United States.
During a break, Smith’s PR manager approached him to speak. In the press room, which the actor skipped after collecting his prize, instructions were given to the journalists not to ask questions about the incident, Luis Pablo Beauregard reports. The next presenter, Sean “Diddy” Combs, tried to calm the situation. “Will and Chris, we’re going to solve this – but right now we’re moving on with love,” the rapper said.
When Smith took to the stage to collect his Best Actor award for his role as Richard Williams – the father of tennis stars Venus and Serena – in King Richard, he referred to the character as “a fierce defender of his family.” He continued: “I’m being called on in my life to love people and to protect people and to be a river to my people. I know to do what we do you’ve got to be able to take abuse, and have people talk crazy about you and have people disrespecting you and you’ve got to smile and pretend it’s OK.”
He explained that fellow actor Denzel Washington, who also spoke to Smith during a break, had told him: “At your highest moment, be careful, that’s when the devil comes for you.”
“I want to be a vessel for love,” Smith continued. “I want to be an ambassador of that kind of love and care and concern. I want to apologize to the Academy and all my fellow nominees. […] I look like the crazy father just like they said about Richard Williams, but love will make you do crazy things,” he said. He then joked about his mother, who had not wanted to come to the ceremony because she had a date with her crochet group.
During the commercial break, Will Smith is pulled aside and comforted by Denzel Washington and Tyler Perry, who motion for him to brush it off. Will appears to wipe tears from his eyes as he sits back down with Jada, with Denzel comforting Jada and Will’s rep by his side. pic.twitter.com/uDGVnWrSS2
— Scott Feinberg (@ScottFeinberg) March 28, 2022
The Los Angeles Police Department released a statement last night saying that Chris Rock would not be filing any charges for assault against Smith. “LAPD investigative entities are aware of an incident between two individuals during the Academy Awards program,” the statement read. “The incident involved one individual slapping another. The individual involved has declined to file a police report. If the involved party desires a police report at a later date, LAPD will be available to complete an investigative report.”
On December 28, Pinkett Smith spoke on social media about her problems with alopecia. She stated that she would be keeping her head shaved and would be dealing with the condition with humor. “Me and this alopecia are going to be friends… Period!” she wrote on Instagram.
House-price inflation set to stay double digit for much of 2022
House-price inflation is expected to remain at double-digit levels for much of 2022 as the mismatch between what is for sale and what buyers want continues.
Two new reports on the housing market paint a picture of a sector under strain due to a lack of supply and increased demand driven by Covid-related factors such as remote working.
The two quarterly reports, one each from rival property websites myhome.ie and daft.ie, suggest asking prices accelerated again in the first quarter of 2022 as the stock of homes available for sale slumped to a new record low.
Myhome, which is owned by The Irish Times, said annual asking-price inflation was now running at 12.3 per cent.
This put the median or typical asking price for a home nationally at €295,000, and at €385,000 in Dublin.
MyHome said the number of available properties for sale on its website fell to a record low of 11,200 in March, down from a pre-pandemic level of 19,000. The squeeze on supply, it said, was most acute outside Dublin, with the number of properties listed for sale down almost 50 per cent compared with pre-pandemic levels.
It said impaired supply and robust demand meant double-digit inflation is likely until at least mid-2022.
“Housing market conditions have continued to tighten,” said author of the myhome report, Davy chief economist Conall Mac Coille.
“The broad picture of the market in early 2022 remains similar to last year: impaired supply coupled with robust demand due to Ireland’s strong labour market,” he said.
“One chink of light is that new instructions to sell of 7,500 in the first 11 weeks of 2022 are well up from 4,800 in 2021, albeit still below the 9,250 in 2019. The flow of new properties therefore remains impaired,” said Mr Mac Coille.
“Whatever new supply is emerging is being met by more than ample demand. Hence, transaction volumes in January and February were up 13 per cent on the year but pushed the market into ever tighter territory,” he said.
He said Davy was now predicting property-price inflation to average 7 per cent this year, up from a previous forecast of 4.5 per cent, buoyed strong employment growth.
Daft, meanwhile, said house asking prices indicated the average listed price nationwide in the first quarter of 2022 was €299,093, up 8.4 per cent on the same period in 2021 and and just 19 per cent below the Celtic Tiger peak, while noting increases remain smaller in urban areas, compared to rural.
Just 10,000 homes were listed for sale on its website as of March 1st, an all-time low. In Dublin, Cork and Galway cities, prices in the first quarter of 2022 were roughly 4 per cent higher on average than a year previously, while in Limerick and Waterford cities the increases were 7.6 per cent and 9.3 per cent respectively.
The report’s author, Trinity College Dublin economist Ronan Lyons, said: “Inflation in housing prices remains stubbornly high – with Covid-19 disturbing an equilibrium of sorts that had emerged, with prices largely stable in 2019 but increasing since.
“As has been the case consistently over the last decade, increasing prices – initially in Dublin and then elsewhere – reflect a combination of strong demand and very weak supply.”
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