Loyalist graffiti appearing in County Antrim targeting actor James Nesbitt has been condemned. The graffiti appeared on a wall in Portrush on Wednesday, showing a crosshair image beside the star’s name.
The Coleraine-born star is from a Protestant background but recently spoke at a debate on Irish Unity in Dublin. The rally saw Mr Nesbitt speak of supporting a “new union of Ireland”, where northern Protestants would feel welcome. He said many are open to the idea of a federal Ireland.
Also scrawled on the wall close to a north coast property owned by Mr Nesbitt, was the slogan “1 x king 1 x crown no pope in our town”.
Among those to condemn the graffiti was Professor of Human Rights and debate organiser Colin Harvey.
“The targeting of James Nesbitt is absolutely shocking and appalling,” he said in a tweet.
“It must be unequivocally condemned across the civic and political board in the strongest possible terms.”
He added in another post: “Thugs and threats must not be permitted to derail legitimate and respectful constitutional conversations here. Solidarity with James Nesbitt.”
Sinn Féin Assembly member Caoimhe Archibald called the graffiti “disgusting”.
“These threats are an attack on the right to freedom of expression,” she said.
“They come only weeks after James Nesbitt addressed thousands of people in Dublin from right across the political spectrum to discuss the future of the island of Ireland.
“This is clearly a sinister effort to silence debate and intimidate people from joining the discussion. There is no place in society for the threats and hatred directed at James Nesbitt.
“Political leaders should stand shoulder to shoulder in opposition to these threats. Those responsible for this hate crime should be held to account.”