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'Golliwogs' pulled from hospital shop's shelves

By Clare Weir

Staff at a hospital shop in Londonderry have apologised for any offence caused by the sale of 'golliwog' dolls after health chiefs ordered them taken off the shelves.

The store at Altnagelvin Hospital, which sells newspapers and confectionery, was asked to remove 'racist' dolls from display after complaints were allegedly made.

Images of 'golliwogs' were banned from jars of Robertson's jams in the 1980s and from Enid Blyton books after claims of racism, as they were traditionally seen as caricatures of black people.

Related memorabilia is still in high demand from collectors, but general consensus is that the items are offensive.

Eddie Kerr, who heads up the anti-racist SEEDS group in Derry said he was " shocked" that dolls were even present in the city.

"I am shocked that these sorts of things are still present in society," he said.

"It is 15 to 20 years since they were withdrawn. This is not just being politically correct, they are very offensive by their very appearance.

"This society is an increasingly multi-cultural one and no doubt there would have been both visitors and staff from ethnic minorities who would have seen these things. It is not the image a hospital should be presenting.

"The owners of this shop should definitely get rid of them."

Speaking at the shop, Collette Dorrian said: "We have never sold anything racist, offensive or sectarian and if anyone is offended then that was not the intention and we apologise for any upset which was caused."

A spokesperson for the Western Health and Social Care Trust confirmed that: " The Western Trust is totally against the sale of such items on any of its premises.

"The area in question is operating under a lease arrangement and the Trust has asked the private vendor to remove the item from the shop's display."

Belfast Telegraph


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