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Nipsa election plea not meant to be patronising

Published 28/10/2015

I was dismayed to read the letter penned by Tina Creaney, Clare McConnell, Sarah McCrossan and Liz Skelcher (Write Back, October 26) in relation to Lynn Carvill's letter urging Nipsa members to vote for Alison Millar in the current general secretary elections for Nipsa, the largest trade union in Northern Ireland.

What my colleagues have written is that suggesting people should vote for Alison Millar because she is a woman is a patronising thing to do - and I wholeheartedly agree.

It saddens me greatly to see four female Nipsa members attempting to portray their fellow female trade unionist as someone pushing a "patronising" and "tokenistic" message, when this is not actually the case.

I feel very strongly that what Lynn Carvill said needs to be clarified and the record needs to be set straight.

Lynn Carvill wrote to the Belfast Telegraph that this election offers the voters the opportunity to vote for Alison Millar, whom she described as "the candidate with the greatest knowledge, experience and track record".

This was not a letter saying vote for Alison Millar because she is a woman, as some seem to have labelled it,

I agree with Lynn's assertion that to elect a woman to the role of general secretary within the union would make history.

Nipsa was formed in 1922 as the Belfast and District Public Officers' Association and, in the 93 years since, has not had a single female general secretary.

I would urge all Nipsa members to vote for Alison Millar, because she is the best person for the job. If her victory also means the union will have its first female general secretary after nearly 100 years of existence, then I'll be sure to celebrate this historic event as well.


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