A CHURCH of Ireland Minister has told a gathering of Unionists that he is glad that hydrogen peroxide is dying hair blonde and not “going into creamery cans to make explosives.”

The Revd Canon Mark Watson was partly referring to a remark made by Democratic Unionist leader Arlene Foster last week which sparked considerable debate and discussion.

Speaking to the Sunday Independent, Mrs. Foster used the word blonde to describe Sinn Féin's northern leader Michelle O'Neill during a word association game.

During the interview with journalist Niamh Horan, the former first minister was asked what word came to mind regarding Mrs. O'Neill. Mrs. Foster said: “I am not going to be sexist because I can't...” but when pushed, she responded: “Blonde!”.

“Michelle is very attractive. She presents herself very well and she always is, you know, her appearance is always very 'the same',” she continued.

An event to support the Ulster Unionist's Westminster candidate Tom Elliott took place at an Orange Hall in Enniskillen on Saturday and was attended by a number of unionists, including Mrs. Foster.

Addressing those gathered in the hall and before the arrival of Mr. Elliott, Canon Watson, the rector of Trory and Killadeas, made reference to Mrs. Foster's remark.

“Our friend the first minister mentioned the blondes,” he said.

“I am glad they are blondes because it means the hydrogen peroxide that's dying the hair isn't going into creamery cans to make explosives,” said Canon Watson, to laughter.

“I hope there are no Press about or I've just lost my job,” he added, followed by more laughter.

Canon Watson went on to "pray for victory" for Mr. Elliott as he bids to retain the Westminster seat he won two years ago. 

The remark on Saturday was recorded by The Impartial Reporter.

Responding, Sinn Fein MLA Jemma Dolan described the comments as "sexist and outrageous" and called for Mr. Elliott and Mrs. Foster to distance themselves from them.


"The minister referred to Arlene Foster's disgraceful comments last week but also made an extraordinary and outrageous comment about 'hydrogen peroxide that's dying the hair isn't going into creamery cans to make explosives'.

"Tom Elliott and Arlene Foster were both at this event. I'm calling on them to dissociate themselves immediately from this sexist, disrespectful and nasty commentary," she said.