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We in Alliance will never shy away from calling out those who are guilty of making sexist remarks

 

Since last week's Belfast City Council meeting, debate has raged over what constitutes everyday sexism and if comments made by councillor Craig were acceptable or not.

During this time, some commentators have suggested the Alliance Party simply overreacted to his comments and that they were merely a "well-meaning attempt at gallantry by an old-fashioned man". They were not.

In fact, the latest column from Ruth Dudley Edwards, printed April 10, seems more like an excuse to rant about Alliance, engineered under the guise of supporting councillor Craig's actions.

Just so we're clear, his comments were sexist, dehumanising and utterly inappropriate in the workplace or, indeed, anywhere. And clearly councillor Craig thought so, because he apologised for the remarks shortly after.

Alliance makes no apologies for being forward-thinking and promoting a workplace without people being subjected to sexist remarks.

If our conduct makes us intolerant of sexism, racism, sectarianism or anything else in a similar vein, then expect to see more of the same. We will never shy away from calling out others when they exhibit those traits.

On the night in question, the chief executive was visibly upset, with her role in proceedings leaving her unable to speak up and defend herself.

That's why Alliance and many others spoke up - a move the chief executive has since thanked us for.

Alliance will continue to stand up for what is right, which shouldn't be a surprise to anyone if you look at our actions in Belfast City Hall.

Despite the views of some, Alliance makes decisions based on what best benefits the citizens, not based on which party is looking for our support.

In 2017 it is just unfortunate that some would rather criticise our actions than recognise that everyday sexism is never acceptable in the work place.

Michael Long

Alliance Belfast City councillor

 

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