Fermanagh and S Tyrone: a silent Minister and a Twitter "bad boy"

23 Feb 2015 Nick Garbutt    Last updated: 7 Jul 2015

Fermanagh and S Tyrone MLAs on Twitter

After gritty North Belfast, our Twitter tour sees us seeking out the MLAs of the idyllic countryside of Fermanagh and South Tyrone whose steeples are far from dreary.

There’s something about that lopsided grin and general air of mischief that tells you that Fermanagh MLA Phil Flanagan was not exactly prefect material at school.

And he’s been on the naughty step at Stormont as well, after being cheeky to deputy speaker Roy Beggs in a bizarre row about why union jacks are displayed on British driving licences.

So it is hardly surprising that he is Scope’s bad boy of Twitter. His Sinn Fein colleague Caral Ni Chuilin may have called a Dublin Minister a “Gobshite” on her account. But Flanagan can go one step further.

He found himself making headlines after re-tweeting a comment which featured an unfortunate reference to the Duchess of Cambridge’s “back entrance” who was at the time about to give birth to the latest royal heir.  The boul Phil duly apologised for the indiscretion in one of our favourite apologies of all time:  "In a split second error of judgement, I misconstrued the meaning of this tweet and re-tweeted it to my followers in that context. I innocently believed that this joke was about an expectant father being spotted entering the hospital through the front door, leading to a two day media circus with no news to report."

He added: "In hindsight, I can now understand the potential double meaning that some may read into this, but this was not my intention. I apologise for any offence that this may have caused anyone."

None taken Phil.

Flanagan has 5960 followers – Scope thinks it should be more given his reputation for gloriously entertaining “split second errors of judgement.”

In contrast Lord (Maurice) Morrow has opened an account with statistics Scope believes may be a political first: 0 Tweets, 0 Following 0 Followers. All rather strange. Maybe people think Lord is his first name? If this is not your real account please do let us know my lord.

As DETI Minister Arlene Foster is hard at work trying to get digital companies to invest here. So much so that she is yet to grace us with her first tweet. She’s got 446 followers though, testament to the awesome power of silence. Make that 447 Minister, it’s like watching the old test card on BBC and makes us feel nostalgic. At least you are helping to keep our broadband speeds fast Minister.

She is certainly outperforming Sinn Fein’s Sean Lynch who is active on Twitter. He only has 264 followers a below par performance 

Former Ulster Unionist leader Tom Elliott has a very respectable 4459 followers far more than the average attendance at his beloved Ballinamallard United, whose scarf he is wearing on his profile picture.

Finally SF’s Bronwyn McGahan has 1573 followers, not too bad considering a low number of tweets. She is the first MLA we have come across who follows more people than follow her. Scope thinks that is a good thing. She is listening.

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