A SINN FEIN Councillor has labelled SDLP Westminster John Coyle a ‘donkey’ and those who voted for him as ‘asses’.
The Facebook status posted by Sinn Fein councillor Barry Doherty in the aftermath of last week’s election, put the blame on the SDLP for Michelle Gildernew’s Westminster defeat, and has been described as a ‘disgrace’ by SDLP MLA Fearghal McKinney.
The MLA, from Enniskillen, said that his comments showed a ‘complete and utter disdain’ for voters and called on the Kinawley man to apologise.
The controversial post by the Sinn Fein councillor read: “I knew the SDLP had a donkey standing, didn’t see them finding 2732 asses to keep him company.”
Mr McKinney told the Fermanagh Herald that you don’t win votes by ‘putting two fingers up to the electorate’.
“Sinn Fein’s background has been: They supported violence, they supported intimidation and some of them can’t rid themselves of that and it presents itself as bullying.
“Mr Doherty shows complete and utter disdain for those who had exercised their right to vote,” Mr McKinney added, “I think this is a disgrace. Remember these are the same ‘asses’ as he calls them that he wanted to engage in a pact with. So that is the disdain with which he would treat those who were offered and wanted another choice. Remember those, say 3,000, votes were people who rejected the Tom Elliott pact and rejected the Sinn Fein offer.”
He also called for the party to apologise.
When contacted by the Fermanagh Herald yesterday, Tuesday, Councillor Doherty said that he regretted the comments.
“In the heat of the moment I would have used intemperate language that upon reflection would have been best not used.
“I was attempting to criticise what many people perceive as the SDLP running a ‘wrecking’ candidate. I did not mean to offend anybody who chose to exercise their democratic right to vote for whoever they wanted. I do realise that reading what I wrote it did look like a direct insult to people who chose to vote SDLP. I do regret that I used those particular words.”
He added: “I do apologise for any offence caused.”
For his part, Councillor John Coyle, who polled 2,732 votes at the Westminster elections last week described the post as ‘petty’.
“Somebody sent it to me, I received it on Sunday. It’s petty, that’s all it is. I never put up anything belittling anybody or undermining the democracy of this region.
“They try and intimidate you but I have my held head high and I can walk in anywhere – I’m not ashamed of anything that I have done.”
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