An election storm has erupted after one of David Simpson’s backers used the word “taigs” in a Facebook discussion.
Roberta McNally, the chairman of Lurgan Royal British Legion, apologised but refused to resign after the controversy on social media.
This was an off the cuff remark and certainly was not intended to offend anyoneRoberta McNally
Mrs McNally, who signed Mr Simpson’s Westminster Election nomination papers, also labelled Armagh Banbridge and Craigavon Council Deputy Mayor Catherine Seeley a “tramp” while discussing the possibility of the Sinn Féin candidate winning the Westminster seat.
Mrs McNally claimed the issue had been blown out of proportion in a bid to impact on Mr Simpson’s election campaign.
“I wish to place on record my sincere apologises. This was an off the cuff remark and certainly was not intended to offend anyone,” she said.
“I have many Catholic friends who I hold in high esteem and they know I would not offend them at any costs. I feel this is a concerted effort to discredit me because of my association with David Simpson and his election campaign. Unfortunately the good name of the Royal British Legion has been dragged through the mud in this endeavour. I will not be resigning my position in the Royal British Legion.”
The DUP has distanced itself from Mrs McNally but Mr Simpson called on Miss Seeley to demand apologies from the leadership of her party “if she is to be consistent in her opposition to sectarianism”.
He said, “Sinn Fein has latched on to a comment made on social media by someone who is not a DUP member. I have made it quite clear that I did not support the language used. I am glad that it was removed.
“However, the hypocrisy from Sinn Fein in relation to such language is beyond belief. Where exactly does Catherine Seeley stand on her party leader’s comments which referred to unionists as ba****ds?
“Did she call for an apology for those remarks, or indeed for the assertion that Sinn Fein’s view of equality legislation was to use it to “break” unionists?”