Unionist Health Minister Edwin Poots has caused a storm of criticism after describing the 1916 Easter Rising as “a failed rising by subversives.’ Poots,a member of Ian Paisley’s party the Democratic Unionist Party holds one of the most important posts in the power sharing government with Sinn Fein.

Poots tweeted that he "had forgotten it is the 97th anniversary of a failed rising by subversives."

Nationalists who revere the Easter Rising as their foundation revolution responded that Poots was displaying the typical political racism of many Unionists.

He was also accused of "awesome trolling" and displaying "unionist political leadership at its best."

Mr Poots's online comments were posted at 5.01 am on the morning of Easter Monday. South Belfast SDLP politician Conor McDevitt stated the comment was "childish and hissy," and "unfit of a person who holds" Mr Poots's office.

"I think given the amount of energy and work to try to create a positive climate on a decade of centenaries, he needs to be careful to not let whatever prejudice he may hold to get in the way of reconciliation in our society," he said.

"The question he needs to reflect on is if he wants to be someone who contributes to a decade of reconciliation or not."

Last June Poots was accused of bigotry by McDevitt after a refusal to lift a ban on gay men donating blood.

"My party will be calling on the minister (Mr Poots) to bring forward the totality of his alleged evidence, to allow proper scrutiny of it... and answer for the bigotry inherent in his comments," McDevitt said at the time.

Unionist Health Minister Edwin Poots says 1916 Easter Rising was a failed revolution