A Democratic Unionist Party MP has labelled grey squirrels the “Hamas of the squirrel world” in a Westminster hall debate.
In the debate yesterday morning, the DUP’s Jim Shannon made an early intervention in the debate, comparing grey squirrels to Hamas — the proscribed terror group.
MPs were discussing how to control the grey squirrel population and how to protect red squirrels.
Shannon intervened on Conservative backbencher Virginia Crosbie to support her call to ministers to take action to control the numbers of grey squirrels.
Crosbie called for grey squirrels to be given contraceptives to stop them breeding.
In his intervention, Shannon said: “The Ards Red Squirrel Group is full of fantastic volunteers who work tirelessly to protect the future of the red squirrel in my constituency of Strangford, particularly at Mount Stewart.
“The organisation is led by the National Trust Mount Stewart ranger team, and they are in constant contact with local landowners to monitor red squirrels and eradicate any greys that venture in.
“Indeed, the issue is the very presence of grey squirrels – grey squirrels are the Hamas of the squirrel world.”
He added that there should be “greater integration” between the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and local red squirrel groups in the devolved institutions to ensure they have the “means necessary to preserve and expand the red squirrel species throughout Northern Ireland”.
Hamas was responsible for a terrorist attack on Israel on October 7.
In response to Shannon’s Westminster Hall comments, a Campaign Against Anti-Semitism spokesperson said: “While Jim Shannon likely does not mean any harm by his comments, they risk trivialising the atrocities that Hamas has committed over decades, culminating in the massacre of October 7. All parliamentarians should be measured in their choice of words.”
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