Friday, 24 October 2014

Anger over Labour councillor's comments

An ‘official’ North Ayrshire Council Tweet acknowledging the award of a medal to a Stevenston woman in recognition of many years community service was removed after a Labour councillor hijacked the thread to launch a party-political attack on the SNP.

Provost Joan Sturgeon used the Twitter account run by the Council – not her personal account – to highlight the award of the British Empire Medal (BEM) to Mrs Jean Robertson.  Cllr Sturgeon posted a photograph of Mrs Robertson at last Sunday’s (October 12th) ceremony where she received the BEM.  Also in the photo were John Duncan (Lord Lieutenant of Ayrshire), Angela Dunbar (Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Ayrshire), Provost Sturgeon and local councillors Willie Gibson and Ronnie McNicol.  Accompanying the photograph, the North Ayrshire Provost posted, “Congratulations to Mrs Jean Robertson who received the British Empire Medal today.  Well deserved.”

However, Labour councillor Alex Gallagher (pictured) then added a comment to the Provost’s post, which read, “That’d be the British Empire Medal.” 

Provost Sturgeon and Cllr Willie Gibson (Leader of North Ayrshire Council) are both members of the SNP, which led the pro-independence movement in the recent referendum campaign.  The outcome of the referendum was, of course, that Scotland should remain part of the British Union. 

A member of the public replied to Cllr Gallagher’s comment, saying, “You really need tae move on m8 [mate]”, to which the Labour councillor Tweeted, “I’ve no problem with the BEM.”

In response, the member of the public stated, “Hurrah! All hail yer GLORIOUS Empire.” 

Alex Gallagher then appeared to confirm his original comment had been targeted at the attendance of SNP councillors at Mrs Robertson’s medal ceremony: he posted, “That’s what Cllrs Joan Sturgeon and Willie Gibson appear to think. Makes you wonder...”

The member of the public then drew Cllr Gallagher’s attention to what Provost Sturgeon’s post had actually been about, saying, “Not really though, the wee woman being given the award won’t care who gives it.  It’s HER award.  Labour’s obsession with the SNP will be its downfall.”

In response, Cllr Gallagher stated, “Quite happy with our victory.  Maybe it’s you that needs to move on...”

The following morning (Monday, October 13th), the Provost’s Tweet recognising the award of the BEM to Mrs Robertson was removed by the Council.  A North Ayrshire spokesperson explained to the3towns.today, “The picture was taken on October 12 at Ardeer Parish Church after Provost Joan Sturgeon had been guest of honour when Mrs Jean Robertson collected her British Empire Medal for Services to the Community.

"The Provost Tweeted the picture to acclaim Mrs Robertson, who has been a pillar of her local community for a number of years.

"The picture was temporarily removed following some comments, which drew attention away from the good work undertaken by Mrs Robertson.

“The Provost decided to remove the tweet and re-post it at a later date - to acknowledge Mrs Robertson and her achievement in receiving the British Empire Medal.”

the3towns.today contacted Alex Gallagher regarding his posting of what appeared to be party-political comments on an ‘official’ Council Twitter post about the recognition of many years community service by a Stevenston resident.  However, the Largs-based Labour councillor failed to respond.

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