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Causeway Mayor 'sorry' over Facebook bin men jibe

Councillor says no offence was intended amid calls for her to step down

By Staff reporter

Published 19/08/2015

Michelle Knight McQuillan, Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council. Pic: Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Michelle Knight McQuillan, Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council. Pic: Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

The Mayor of the Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council has apologised over a Facebook post taking a swipe at bin men.

DUP Mayor, Councillor Michelle Knight-Quillan posted a meme - a picture or pictures normally with a humorous saying that are shared online - about refuse collectors past and present.

The Coleraine Times reported that alongside a black and white picture of a bin man carrying an old-style metal bin were the words: "I used to walk into your garden, take your bins and any bags and throw them into the wagon without a fuss.

"I whistled as I work and I always had a smile for you.”

In contrast, a second colour photo of a modern day bin man said: "I won’t take your bin if: it’s pointing the wrong way; it’s not near the wagon; the lid is sticking up a bit.

“I don’t smile very often and I’m only interested in clocking off.”

It was reported that a number of staff at the new council had taken offence, with some calling on her to resign.

The Belfast Telegraph could not reach Councillor Knight-Quillan, who represents the Bann area, for comment.

However, she told the Coleraine Times she meant no malice and had offered to meet workers.

"This was a post on my own private Facebook page," she said.

“It was a private joke between me and an uncle of mine who used to be a bin man.

"I was recalling him coming back to my granny’s home after work black from the soot out of the bins, and him wearing a donkey jacket.

"I am hardly likely to insult members of my own family.

She continued: "My take on the post is that in today’s society we are bound by regulations.

“Nowadays people cannot get on with their work because of health and safety precautions.

“The staff at the Loughanhill depot are some of the most dedicated workers in council.

“In one of my first radio interviews as mayor I praised the technical and cleansing teams of council.

“As someone who used to work in the health service I know the that these so-called lower services are vital to the smooth running of organisations. If they are not there, then the whole organisations fails.

“This post has been taken out of perspective, and I am more than happy to explain myself face to face with anyone that has taken offence by it.”

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