Apology refusal over ‘buffoon’ comment

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A Carrick-based representative who branded a fellow member of Mid and East Antrim council as a ‘buffoon’ during a meeting last week says he won’t be apologising.

Councillor Jim Brown (Ind.) used the term at the end of a speech directed at Larne-based DUP Cllr. Paul Reid who had tabled a question seeking clarification about a wreath laying issue from Chief Executive, Anne Donaghy.

Cllr. Reid asked: “On Armistice Day, November 11, 2016 an elected member, dressed in Mid and East And Antrim Robes, laid a wreath bearing the Coat of Arms of Carrickfergus Borough Council. Could the Chief Executive provide the rationale for this as Carrickfergus Borough is no longer in existence?”

The Chief Executive told the meeting that in order to comply with the request she needed to ascertain the date on a picture which had appeared on social media and was thus unable to give a direct response to the meeting.

It was at this point that Cllr. Brown accused Cllr. Reid of ‘at best, mischief making’ through his question.

He asked what evidence had been provided to the town clerk. And, after further querying the ‘honesty and integrity’ of Cllr. Reid’s question, he added: “I have baby wipes to take egg off the accuser’s face.”

When Cllr. Reid confirmed he was happy with the Chief Executive’s promise to further investigate the issue, Cllr. Brown loudly referred to him as a ‘buffoon’. Cllr. Reid responded with a demand for an apology but when Mayor Audrey Wales called on Cllr. Brown to apologise to his fellow councillor, the Carrick man refused.

The Times sought further clarification on the issue from both Cllrs. Reid and Brown.

Cllr Reid did not wish to comment. Cllr Brown told the Times that he understands Cllr. Reid was referring to a picture on his (Mr. Brown’s) Facebook page of him dressed in civic robes holding a wreath bearing Carrick’s crest.

He said that the picture is three-years-old and had been placed on the page as a ‘memory’ .on his return from a tribute at the town’s Big Lamp on the morning of Armistice Day.