Belfast Telegraph

**I know I shouldn't be amazed, but this story just blows me away with its illustration of unionist idiocy:

Fury over councillor's Christmas greetings

By Staff Reporter

11 December 2003

BANBRIDGE District Council chairman Cassie McDermott has been accused of "hijacking Christmas" to promote the Irish language.

A war of words has erupted in the Co Down town over the SDLP councillor's decision to send out bilingual Christmas cards.

The card, titled Christmas Blessings, features the Old School House at Mullan's Corner, Dromore, and includes the Banbridge District Council logo on the back. The message is printed in both English and Irish.

All five DUP councillors and a number of Ulster Unionists returned their cards.

DUP councillor Jim McElroy accused Mrs McDermott of "hijacking Christmas" to promote the Irish language.

"This is not only insulting to unionist councillors, it is also insulting to non-unionists and many in the nationalist community," he said.

"She has spoiled her term as chairperson by bringing up such a political issue at this time."

Fellow DUP councillor Stephen Herron viewed the card as a deliberate attempt to "get the backs up of unionist representatives on the council".

"She has succeeded in doing so and soured working relations within the council," he added.

"She will have to understand that in the main the only face the Irish language has to the likes of me and the people I represent is when it is painted in militant republican slogans and propaganda.

"Therefore when it comes through your door you immediately get the same sense of having your nose rubbed in the dirt of Irish republicanism."

A number of Ulster Unionist councillors have also returned their cards, including John Ingram who felt that "a bit more common sense could have been used in the decision to send out the cards".

"The reason I returned the card was that I saw it as an insult to those who elected Mrs McDermott to her position as council chairperson," he said.

Mrs McDermott said she did not regret sending out the cards and would do the same thing again.

"I am sorry that the spirit of Christmas does not appear to have reached everyone. I have endeavoured throughout my time to reach out and serve everyone in the district to the best of my ability.

"In the current spirit of inclusiveness and to ensure parity of esteem I decided to recognise both cultures on the Christmas card.

"This is a personal message and I'm sorry some of the councillors do not see it that way and cannot accept it in the spirit in which it was sent."

A spokesperson for Banbridge Council said: "The design and issue of the council chairman's Christmas card is and always has been a personal matter for each chairman."

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?