Belfast Telegraph

Ridiculous to report officer over Ulster-Scots greeting dispute: MLA

By Rebecca Black

A Unionist MLA has slammed as "ridiculous" a threat to report a PSNI officer to the Police Ombudsman over a New Year greeting.

Yesterday the Belfast Telegraph revealed that an officer had been threatened with being reported after posting a greeting on the PSNI Newry and Mourne Facebook page in Irish, Polish, Russian and Lithuanian, but not Ulster-Scots.

However, after the police watchdog's offices reopened yesterday after the holidays, a spokesman confirmed it had not received any complaints about the officer in question.

The officer used his lunch hour on New Year's Eve to compile a collage of images from Ardmore PSNI station in Newry as well as New Year greetings in the languages which he had come across in the area during the year.

While more than 100 people 'liked' the greeting post on the Facebook page, the officer sparked some abuse as people on Facebook and Twitter said he should have included an Ulster-Scots translation of Happy New Year.

One Facebook user posted: "Why can't you just speak in English? once again trying 2 make it a cold house 4 loyalist's (sic)."

The officer then posted a message apologising for having offended and explained that he had included the languages which police had come across in the Newry and Mourne area during the year and could get a translation for using Google Translate.

The officer was contacted with a demand for his official number by a person who said they intended to report him to the Police Ombudsman.

A PSNI spokesman said it would not be commenting further on the matter.

Ulster Unionist MLA and Policing Board member Ross Hussey said the threat of a complaint to the Police Ombudsman was "absolutely ridiculous".

"That makes a nonsense of the Police Ombudsman if someone is going report a genuine oversight because someone didn't say Happy New Year in Ulster Scots," said the former part-time RUC Reservist.

"It really is making a mountain out of a mole hill. Ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous.

"The officer was clearly acting in good faith, and inadvertently overlooked it."

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