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A right royal row as DUP complains over SF woman's selfie with Queen

By Staff Reporter

Published 12/02/2016

The selfie taken by Sinn Fein’s Patrice Hardy has now been deleted
The selfie taken by Sinn Fein’s Patrice Hardy has now been deleted

The DUP has lodged a formal complaint over a Sinn Fein councillor's selfie with the Queen's portrait.

Patrice Hardy took a picture of herself in the Town Hall chamber in Ballymena on Tuesday night with the portrait of the monarch in the background.

She posted it on Twitter with the caption 'Big Liz says Dia dhuit', a common Irish greeting that means hello or, literally, God be with you.

Beside the text were shamrock and Tricolour emojis.

Councillor Hardy, the vice chair of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council's planning committee, has since removed the post and apologised for any offence caused.

But the DUP has lodged a formal complaint with the council's chief executive, claiming the post was "inappropriate".

In a statement to the Belfast Telegraph, councillor Hardy said: "I initially posted the photo as an attempt at humour.

"However, on reflection, I decided to remove it as I felt it may cause offence, which was never my intention."

Confirming the complaint, DUP councillor Greg McKeen said: "I didn't feel it was appropriate.

"Her position is vice chair of the community planning committee, which suggests she is supposed to be representing the whole of Mid and East Antrim.

"And to put this inappropriate tweet out pre the meeting starting - I thought it was an insult to Her Majesty the Queen in the context that it was put out."

When asked if it was worthy of a formal complaint, Mr McKeen said: "If you look at the code of conduct for councillors and behaviour, it's potentially bringing the council into disrepute by putting that out and making such a joke and a laugh about the whole situation."

Mr McKeen added: "It was removed very quickly, so I'm taking that by her hasty removal of it she is admitting that she was wrong in what she had done.

"I believe she should apologise to the full council and to the citizens of Mid and East Antrim for her behaviour."

A spokesman for the Mid and East Antrim Borough Council said that photography was not currently prohibited in the council chamber.

He said: "The matter is being examined internally in light of the code of conduct and the social media guidelines for elected members."

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