Belfast Telegraph

MP turns Old McDonnell

by Natalie Irvine

Members of Parliament are often known to ‘butt in’ during cross party debate, but until now, it has been unheard of for an MP to be ‘butted’ during the course of their duties.

But last Friday, June 11, SDLP MP for south Belfast Alasdair McDonnell, in the course of his duties, pulled up to a home in Greystone Close, walked around to the back of the house, and began to chase a stray billy goat around the garden.

A spokesperson from Mr McDonnell’s constituency office said: “The homeowner in question was an elderly woman. The goat was lost and had been running around her garden since Monday, June 7.’

“She called our office in desperation. The goat was getting thinner, and she was afraid it would run out onto the road and cause an accident. She believed if the goat found its way into her garden, it would find its way out and cause harm to road users and itself.

“She was distressed as neither the police nor the USPCA would respond to her concern. The police said that as the goat was not on the road, it was not an immediate hazard and therefore not a priority for them.

“The USPCA told her they could do nothing as the police had not reported the problem to them. They said they need authorisation from the PSNI — it’s a requirement in order for them to receive the money required for the upkeep of the goat.

“The woman who called said she had no one else to turn to, so Alaisdair took it upon himself to deal with the problem. He was concerned about the danger to pedestrians, road users, the goat’s well being, and of course, the damage the goat was doing to this woman’s garden.”

Mr McDonnell has since transported the goat up to his family’s farm in east Antrim while the animal’s owner is sought. If no owner is found, the Community Telegraph have been told that the goat will be well cared for at the farm.

As for the woman who reported it, she now has the task of replanting all the marigolds the goat ate during his stay.

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